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Cocktail Waitress Walks 11 Miles To Rescue Diabetic Mother, Grandmother

November 14, 1987

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) _ A cocktail waitress walked 11 miles through snow to get help for her diabetic mother and wheelchair-bound 92-year-old grandmother after their car became stalled on a remote Utah mountain.

″I do a lot of walking in my job so I knew I would make it as long as nothing got me along the trail,″ Susie Osburn said Friday.

Rescuers in a four-wheel-drive vehicle found the two older women shivering but unhurt in their Toyota at the mountain’s 9,000-foot level Thursday morning.

Osburn’s trek down the mountain was their only hope for rescue, said Piute County Sheriff Brent Gottfredson.

″The only people up there this time of year would be an occasional trapper or something,″ Gottfredson said. ″It would have been a long time before anyone would have found them.″

Osburn, 33, said her mother was hyperventilating and her grandmother was having severe chest pains after the car got stuck in snow about 10 p.m. Wednesday on a gravel road in southern Utah.

The three were returning from a day trip to Bryce Canyon when 59-year-old Betty Osburn took a wrong turn in the dark. They ran the car engine periodically while trying to keep warm in temperatures of about 20 degrees.

The engine failed about 2 a.m., however, and the bitter cold began to set in on the women, who had light jackets but no blankets.

″All the stuff we had in the car we piled on my grandmother because she was starting to get real cold,″ Susie Osburn said. ″My mother is a nurse so she knew we had to calm down and get control. We had to start thinking logically.″

Betty Osburn remembered she had seen a tiny town several miles before they got stuck in the snow, which was 2 feet deep on the mountain from a recent storm. They decided Susie Osburn would follow the gravel road down the mountain at first light in hopes of finding the town.

″My shoes were soaked from trying to push the car out of the snow the night before so I put plastic bags over my socks,″ she said. ″I just had a light jacket on but the walking warmed me up.″

Osburn made it to Junction in slightly more than three hours, walking as quickly as she could through the snow. On the way she was spooked by a herd of deer that ran by her and a mountain lion that trailed her for several miles.

″My husband knew something was wrong when we didn’t get back the night before and he had called the highway patrol,″ she said. ″When I stumbled into town, they knew who I was right away.″

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