A powerful snowstorm that dumped 2-plus feet of snow across much of Central Oregon also proved deadly in three storm-related fatalities – a couple walking an unplowed driveway to their home in the Crossroads area west of Sisters and a well-known Tumalo-area man who apparently collapsed and died while shoveling snow, authorities said Sunday.
A Deschutes County sheriff’s deputy responded around 5:25 p.m. Saturday to a call for a welfare check on an elderly couple in the Crossroads Loop area near Sisters that last had been seen on Friday evening, said sheriff’s Lt. Paul Garrison.
Like the reporting party, the deputy tried to contact Henry Constable, 83, and Brooke Constable, 69, by phone but was unsuccessful, Garrison said. He began to check a number of locations in the Sisters area related to the couple, including an address on Crossroads Loop, where the couple’s car was found some distance away.
With help from the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Department, the deputy found Henry Constable buried under snow a short distance from the home, Garrison said. His wife was found nearby, also covered by snow that had fallen since the previous night.
The couple apparently had been walking through heavy snow from the road to the home on an unplowed driveway, Garrison said.
The incident remains under investigation, but Garrison said the deaths apparently were a result of exposure to the extreme weather, over-exertion in the deep snow, a medical emergency or a combination of those factors. Foul play is not suspected, he said.
Around the same time, about 5:20 p.m. Saturday, the sheriff’s office and Bend Fire Department medics responded to a medical emergency call on Kentucky Road in the Tumalo area, where a man later identified as Timothy Lillebo, 61, had been found by his wife, collapsed in the snow, Garrison said.
The lieutenant said Lillebo -- a widely known forest activist and Eastern Oregon wildlands advocate for Oregon Wild -- had been shoveling snow before his collapse and was found by his wife about a half-hour after he went outside. Medics tried performing life-saving efforts, but were unsuccessful, Garrison said.
Again, no foul play is suspected – only a result of exposure to the extreme weather, over-exertion, a medical emergency or combination, Garrison said.
Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office recommends the following during During Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
- Stay indoors during the storm and extreme weather conditions.
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
- Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
- Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
- Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.
- Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
- Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
- Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
For further information for preparing for extreme weather conditions, go to the following website: