Phoenix family rescued after truck stuck in ditch

A Phoenix family that drove to an area off Bloody Basin Road and became stuck on New Year's Day was rescued, due in part to some smart decisions, a Yavapai County Sheriff's spokesman said.

The family left Cave Creek and, at about 6:30 p.m., called the Sheriff's Office to report that their truck, with a man, woman and two children inside, had become stranded after getting stuck in a ditch, YCSO spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said.

The group stayed with the truck, which was still running and provided heat, he said. They had water and snack foods, but were unable to explain where they were.

The cellphone company helped narrow down the location by using the cell signal and supplied dispatchers with GPS coordinates. Working with a YCSO Forest Patrol deputy, the county search and rescue team's 4x4 unit was called out, D'Evelyn said.

The volunteer search team was in the area by 8 p.m., found the truck within two hours, and brought the family out safely.

D'Evelyn pointed out that the family made some good decisions: They stayed with the truck; had some rudimentary supplies of food and water; and had a charged cellphone battery.

However, he said, "Driving into unknown wilderness areas at night is a risk and should be avoided," unless the trip is planned and the driver has an "understanding of the terrain."

Although the family had a cellphone, he added, "Remember, there are portions of Yavapai County where cellphone signals do not work," and recommended a satellite-tracking device, which works practically anywhere and allows authorities to get a GPS fix on people, should they become lost.