Washington trooper escorts senior citizen on scooter home after she got lost on state route

Posted at 4:39 PM, Jun 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-14 18:39:47-04

WASHINGTON -- A Washington state trooper served as a special escort to an elderly woman on a scooter who had become lost and was apparently riding around the roadway for miles.

KOMO News’ Lindsay Cohen reports on the extreme measures the trooper went through to make sure the woman made it home safely, see the video above for the heartwarming dash camera video of the police escort and Cohen’s report.

The woman was spotted on Highway 546 near the U.S.-Canada border, and some folks were worried about the woman on the motorized scooter on the highway.

KOMO News reports the woman had gone out for coffee and then got lost, and when Trooper Dave Hintz reached her she was four miles from home and heading in the wrong direction on a road with cars and even semis.

In the video, he approaches the woman in his patrol vehicle and asks her to move off the road a little ways.

Hintz says: "Hi, can you pull into this little opening over here?”

You can hear him calling the details into dispatch, his words halting as he tries to describe the situation: "There's no license plate. She's in a... little... cart."

Hintz has been with the state patrol for 24 years, but he said this was a first.

"It was different,” he told KOMO News with a laugh.

Some people, like Andrea Ruth, thought the police were pulling the woman over for riding on the highway, and Ruth shot some cell phone video of the encounter.

"Just hit record as quickly as I could,” she said, recalling the moment she saw what looked like a low-speed chase from her office.

"I see this woman come across on a little scooter, and then I’m like, "Oh," and then I see the cop car and I’m like, "Ooooohhhh!" she said.

The car's own dash-cam video would end up telling the whole tale.

“Well we're getting a ton of calls about you; everybody's worried about you because you've been on and off the road,” The trooper can be heard telling the woman, who was lost and about four miles away from her home.

"We're going to have to do something, because I don't want you to get hurt out here,” Hintz tells the woman.

Hintz tells KOMO News he decided to treat the woman like family.

“I just treated her the way that I would've wanted somebody to treat my mom,” he said.

So Hintz escorted this grandma home, letting her drive as fast as that scooter would go: 6 miles an hour.

It wasn't always easy, and at one point the dash camera video shows Hintz out of his vehicle and pushing the scooter out of some undergrowth and back up onto the roadway.

"See if we can get you out of here,” He says as he pushes.

"Just don't tip it,” the elderly woman replies.

“I'm not going to tip it,” Hintz reassures her.

After more than an hour of travel, they made it.

Hintz says on the video: "OK, do you know where you're going now? OK, no more out on the state route."

Hintz spoke about the experience fondly.

"Our motto with the State Patrol is service with humility,” he said. “And it took a lot of patience and humility to take care of this lady.”