Rush to see gravely ill son lands woman in a UHP escort
OGDEN, Utah -- Helen "Skeeter" Smith got the dreaded phone call -- her son, Randy, was gravely ill in the hospital.
So Helen, 87 years old, hopped in her car in southern Nevada on Friday, jumped on I-15, and started heading north for a 350 mile trip to Ogden.
In central Utah, she "buzzed past" a Utah trooper, who pulled her over and gave her a warning. "He was all nice," said Helen. "Oh yeah, he was just doing his job."
Then Helen had perhaps the best accident she could have hoped for; instead of pulling forward to ease onto the interstate, she put her car in reverse and hit Trooper Jeff Jones' patrol car.
"I put a little dent in his car," she said. She also told Trooper Jones the reason why she was making the trip.
But that little dent convinced the trooper it wasn't safe for her to continue her journey, so he had her car moved to a secure location, and gave her a ride from Fillmore to Juab County.
There, he handed Helen off to Trooper Jared Jensen, who drove her to Utah County.
Jensen handed her off to Trooper Chris Bishop, who drove her to Salt Lake County.
There, Trooper Andrew Pollard met her in Draper, and drove Helen all the way to Ogden Regional Medical Center.
"She was very excited to tell me about her dogs, her cat, and her hometown," said Pollard, who is new to the Utah Highway Patrol. "To hold her hand walking into the hospital was very, very rewarding."
After Helen saw how busy the freeway is on a Friday night, she was grateful to the chauffeurs.
"I ended up taking four patrol cars," she said. "Four good-lookin' patrol boys brought me."
Helen made it to the hospital to see her son. He is not doing well, but treatment is continuing; and a mother with undying love for her son said he's also been able to express his love.