A northwest Iowa man has died of exposure after leaving his pickup in the middle of a blizzard.
On Christmas morning at 9:15 a.m., the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a rural Rock Valley resident reporting that he found a pickup truck stuck on a gravel road, four miles northwest of Rock Valley. The caller said he knew the pickup to be that of his elderly neighbor who lives alone. The caller also reported that he had checked his neighbor’s home and did not find him there.
When the caller went back to the area of the pickup truck he located the man in the ditch near the fence line, apparently deceased. The Rock Valley ambulance and sheriff’s office were dispatched to the scene. Eighty-one-year-old William Rielly of rural Rock Valley was pronounced dead at the scene by the Sioux County Medical Examiner.
Upon further investigation by the sheriff’s office it appeared that Rielly left his residence on Christmas eve, and drove about a half mile east. His vehicle became stuck in a large snow bank. Rielly attempted to free the vehicle for some time, as evidenced by the left rear tire of the vehicle which was worn down to the rim. Rielly apparently left his vehicle after he couldn’t free it and walked west toward his home. He was located about a quarter mile east of his home.
The Sheriff’s Office confirms that Rielly died of apparent exposure. Sioux County snow plows had to open roads allowing the ambulance and sheriff’s deputies to reach the vehicle.
(Reporting by Scott Van Aartsen, KIWA, Sheldon)