By Christy Strawser, digital director
HOWELL (CBS Detroit) The Livingston County Sheriff’s Department had one of their more unusual calls this weekend when 911 dispatchers handled an allegedly drunk 21-year-old who said she was stuck in a “tree house” and couldn’t get down.
Snow was falling at a rate of an inch an hour, the wind chill temperature was below zero, and she said she was lost in the woods when she dialed 911 on her cell at about 3 a.m. Sunday.
She had run off after a fight with a pal, she reported.
Dispatchers were able to triangulate her basic position through her cell phone, and three deputies trudged into the snow. Officers were able to find the friend, who was searching for her in an area known as Brambleberry Court near the Shiawassee River in Cohoctah Township, near Howell.
Unable to spot any tree houses, cops started searching hunting blinds — in the dark and under blizzard-like conditions.
After nearly an hour of slogging through the woods, officers heard an ear-piercing scream from one of the trees a short distance away. They found footprints underneath it and called for the woman to come down.
They said they yelled to her repeatedly, but got no response, so an officer climbed the ladder 25 feet up into the blind, and found the young woman, apparently terrified, and laying on the floor.
She wouldn’t speak, but was conscious and staring at the cop, officers said. She would only laugh when cops asked her questions, police said.
She was safe, but the next issue became how to get her down from the tree. The opening into the blind was too small to carry her through it, cops said.
So an officer helped her stand up, put her feet on the ladder, and walked her down manually, step by step.
Wearing only pants, boots and a light jacket in the frigid temperatures, she was taken to Saint Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital for treatment and evaluation.
A Breathalyzer revealed she had a .17 blood alcohol level, police said, more than twice the .08 threshold for drunken driving.
Charges are pending, according to Lt. Jim Lynch of the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department.
She was out there for about 50 minutes before we located her,” Lynch said. “Our deputies did a good job with it, we’re proud of them.”