'He got lucky': After 30-below night stuck in truck, hunter rescued on remote road

John Myers, Duluth News Tribune on

Published in Outdoors

He had recently sent his cell phone in for repair, although it's not clear if there would have been a signal in that area anyhow.

Last Tuesday, Sanders' family drove to the search area while volunteers from around the region checked roads and the Civil Air Patrol conducted aerial searches. Still, no luck.

In the waning daylight, just after 4 p.m. last Tuesday, local loggers Sheldon Sokoloski and his son, Prestin Sokoloski, were driving down a remote county road when they saw Quiser on his hands and knees.

"My son had come to help me move a dozer closer to a logging road we're building. ... We were driving out when we saw him, crawling along the side of the road," Sheldon Sokoloski said.

"You don't see people crawling along the road at 30 below when there's nothing wrong."

Quiser's hands and feet were badly frostbitten and he was extremely hypothermic, so much so that he had trouble communicating.

The Sokoloskis got Quiser into their truck and sped to the emergency room at the Cook Hospital, about 20 minutes away.

"Funny thing is, I knew who he was. He was the Cook deputy forever and he used to fish the same lakes we do," Sokoloski said. He estimated Quiser had come about two miles from his stuck truck.

The Sokoloskis didn't even know anyone was missing. They just happened to decide to move the bulldozer when they did. If they hadn't, Sokoloski isn't sure Quiser would have made it.

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"He got lucky," Sokoloski said. "The county had already plowed the road we were on and I don't think anyone else would have been driving by there that night. It doesn't get much traffic."

Sanders said her dad told her that he kept moving even when he was beyond cold.

"He said he knew that every step he managed was another step closer to his family," she said while at her father's side in his hospital room Wednesday afternoon. "And now he just keeps apologizing for not being where he said he was going to go."

Sanders considers the Sokoloskis heroes. And she said her dad is officially grounded from back-road trips until further notice.

"I wanted to jump into their arms when I saw them at the (Cook) hospital. They are true heroes," she said of the Sokoloskis. "The amazing thing is how many people volunteered to go out and look for my dad. And the people who found him. ... Despite all the bad things you hear every day there are still some great people in this world."

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