The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office says an Albany County official probably saved the life of a Rock Springs man.

According to a press release, Director of the Albany County Emergency Management Agency Aimee Binning made a call that brought deputies to the rescue of a motorist who had been stranded for more than half a day.

Binning was traveling Highway 191 through Sweetwater County on New Year’s Eve and stopped near the top of White Mountain around 5:40 p.m. to give her dog a break from the drive.

Through the darkness, Binning noticed a set of flashing headlights off in the distance to the west.  The press release says deputy sheriffs Mike Merkley and Brad Wallendorff were sent to investigate.

The deputies determined that the headlights Binning saw belonged to a Dodge pickup that was “badly stuck.”

Wallendorf got his patrol vehicle within a quarter mile of the pickup off County Road 58, but had to hike the rest of the way through sub-zero cold.

Wallendorf arrived to find the pickup nearly out of gas after Jeremy Vugrinec of Rock Springs had spent 16 hours in the cab.  Vugrinec said he drove up White Mountain the night of Jan. 30 and got stuck around 3 a.m. Jan. 31.

The press release says that officials credit Binning’s report with helping get Vugrinec to safety before time ran out.

“This was a life-threatening situation,” says Sweetwater County Sheriff Mike Lowell.  “I don’t think he would have survived the night once he ran out of gas.”