Authorities in western Iowa say a man could face charges for taking his two children with him in a search for firewood during a blizzard Monday evening. Shelby County Chief Deputy Sheriff Rod McMurphy said 43-year old Doug Welsh of Shelby drove 25 miles in order to obtain firewood from an individual who lived west of Defiance.
When Welsh’s pickup became stuck in a snowdrift, he walked to a nearby residence to borrow a shovel. He told the resident his two children had remained with the vehicle.
A sheriff’s deputy enroute to the pickup was obstructed by a large snowdrift. He requested Defiance Fire and Rescue use their heavy duty truck to break through the snowdrift so he could reach the vehicle, but when crews arrived about 45-minutes later, the pickup was abandoned and the footprints of a man and child were seen headed away from the vehicle.
The temperature at the time was about 16-degrees with a windchill factor of around 17-degrees below zero. Not long after a search was coordinated, it was called-off after authorities managed to contact Welsh and determine that he and his two children — ages 9 and 11 — were safe and at home after catching a ride back to Shelby.
Deputy McMurphy said criminal charges may be filed against Welsh for taking his children out in dangerous conditions. The incident remains under investigation.
By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic