At 12:40 am, Christmas Eve, while sweeping their beat, Officers Brooks and Zirate noticed a blacked out vehicle on the right shoulder of northbound US 101.
They contacted the driver, who was identified by her driver’s license as 84 year old Kate Finney, and asked if she needed any help. She seemed emotional, a little confused, and was explaining to them how she had been driving and suddenly the vehicle stopped. After a short conversation, they knew something was wrong.
She had left Palm Springs and continued driving until she ran out of gas. The officers asked dispatch to check to see if there was an active “Silver Alert” for Kate which returned negative. However, upon locating a phone number and contacting her son, he informed them she was “missing” and he had been calling everyone he knew in an attempt to locate her because she suffered from alzheimer’s. He explained that he lives in Oregon and was frantically trying to reach his daughter in San Diego who was the closest relative.
The officers attempted to call out a Santa Barbara CARES program representative, to no avail. They subsequently called CHP Buellton on-call Sergeant Fajardo, who instructed them to transport Kate back to the area office to provide supervision and coordinate a safe, comfortable location for Kate to rest until her family arrived. Later that day, Kate was safely reunited with her granddaughter and able to spend Christmas in the comforts of her own home.
Thank you Officer Brooks and Zirate for your swift and intuitive actions.
If you know anyone who suffers from alzheimer’sal, please make sure they carry:
- Updated emergency contact information
-A list of medications or known allergies
(This may include tagging their clothes or wearing a bracelet or necklace with information)
If an elderly family member who suffers from Dementia/Alzheimer’s is missing, contact your local law enforcement agency to issue a Silver Alert to help locate them.
Source: "* Permission was obtained from Kates family to share this story”.
-Reshared from CHP - Buellton"