Shoeless trucker found unharmed
December 10, 2003
By F.T. Norton
Tribune News Service
SPOONER SUMMIT – A Nevada Appeal photographer spotted a disoriented truck driver wandering in the snow along Highway 50 West near Spooner Summit on Wednesday morning.
Chris Kieser, 41, of Eugene, Ore., was discovered about 9:40 a.m. in the brush heading away from the highway by photographer Rick Gunn of South Lake Tahoe. Authorities found Kieser’s tractor-trailer parked on the shoulder a quarter-mile from the summit in response to a report of a man down behind the truck.
Carson City deputies discovered a plaid sleeping bag partially covered in snow at the rear of the truck and footprints leading into the tree line on the north side of the highway. During a cursory search a flashlight was found but no sign of Kieser.
As search and rescue crews searched the north side of the highway, Kieser was spotted by Gunn on the south side of the highway about 300 yards from the truck.
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He was disoriented, wearing only one tennis shoe and carrying the other in the ankle-deep snow. Deputies believe he may have been under the influence of drugs.
When Deputy Jarrod Adams approached Kieser and asked if the truck along the highway was his, he responded, “Why would that be my truck?”
Kieser was taken to Carson-Tahoe Hospital by ambulance where he was treated. He was released Wednesday evening.
During a search of the truck owned by Lucas Trucking in Monroe, Ore., deputies found a syringe and other drug paraphernalia.
Kieser said he has driven trucks for 18 years and lives in Eugene with his parents, authorities said.
Charges could be filed pending the results of the investigation.
It is not the first time Gunn has crossed paths in the snow. In December 1999 while telemark skiing on Mount Tallac, Gunn rescued a Bay Area couple’s dog that had been missing for nine days after it escaped from them.
Gunn carried the 60-pound dog named Abby, which was bloodied and frostbitten, in his backpack down the mountain. When he took the dog to a South Lake Tahoe veterinarian, he found a missing dog sign on a bulletin board, which turned out to be for Abby. The dog and owners were reunited later that day.