Update: As of 10:55am Vincent Criscitelli has reached the police barricade and has been given a lift to safety
Saturday night Amanda Criscitelli got a text from her brother:
“Don’t freak out. You likely won’t read this however. I’m just letting you know. I’m stuck in a ditch on the side of the road in Sunnyside Washington. I called AAA they were enroute to come get me. However because the visibility is so low (reason for this whole endeavor) they shut down the road. They won’t let anyone down. Called the police. They said if it gets to the point where my life is in danger to call. Otherwise to sit tight and wait. It’s roughly 22 degrees with about 60 mile hour winds in the spot. So visibility is less than I’d say a foot. Currently napping in my car with a sleeping bag and some new non wet clothes. Just wanted to let you know. I love you talk to you soon.”
Vincent Criscitelli, a teacher in Seattle who is originally from Connecticut was off on a weekend trip when his plans got derailed: he became trapped in his car due to the snow on SR 241.
At 10:22 a.m. Criscitelli told his sister that he had been stuck and waiting for three and a half hours with only a quarter tank of gas left.
Amanda Criscitelli then sprung into action calling the Police Department, DOT, and State Patrol to notify them that her brother had still not been picked up yet and was also giving them information that there was another vehicle on the same road that was also stuck.
She says DOT was unaware of this when she reached out to them via Facebook and that brought her to the State Patrol Office, where she says when she contacted them and they connected her to an office phone who told her that they’d send a car out to look for her brother.
Shortly after the call Criscitelli says she received a phone call from the Deputy Office who took her information as well as whatever information I could give them in regard to her brother.
She says she then text her brother to let him know this and told him if he received a call it was probably the police and to pick up.
Criscitelli later received a call back from the Deputy Officer about seeing if her brother had enough supplies and that he was not in any immediate danger after she says her brother had been stuck for nine and a half hours.
The Deputy told her that due to the state of emergency all search and rescue teams were being called back until the morning, he told her that there was a team that just went to this location and recovered several people but must not have gone far enough north to find her brother.
At this point, she says her brother had been sitting in a freezing cold vehicle, complaining of freezing pain in his toes with only a sleeping bag and a 1/2 of a granola bar he’d eaten several hours ago with no one looking for him for ten plus hours.
At 6:48 p.m. Criscitelli text her brother “R u still hanging in there?”
He replied “Yeah”
I said “Ok, I love you, how are your toes?”
He replied “Love you too. I’m fine. Just Cramped”.
She said the police called her brother to tell him that they were going to check on him throughout the night and that they’d try in the meantime to send someone out.
They also called Criscitelli to tell her that they were calling off the search until a minimum of 7:00AM on Sunday (10:00 AM EST), which is just about 24 hours after knowing he had been there.
Criscitelli says her brother has now walked to a semi and is getting warm, drinking tea, and planning his route to the barricade.
His sister also said he declined help so that other people in worse condition could be rescued so State Patrol said his rescue now depends on DOT.
Action News spoke with WSP who says they tried to reach him yesterday but couldn’t because of white out conditions and large snow drift.
Action News will update this story as we get more information.