Trooper rescues woman with dementia stranded on Utah highway
Jun 27, 2023, 6:30 PM | Updated: Jun 28, 2023, 11:35 am
SALT LAKE CITY — Vanessa Gillis couldn’t have been more thankful for a Utah Highway Patrol trooper who found her mother stranded on a highway near Brigham City.
Gillis said her mother, 76-year-old Egeia Gillis, has dementia and lives on her own. Lately, bouts with dementia have been more frequent.
Vanessa Gillis lives in Florida and her mother lives in Middleton, Idaho.
About a month ago she answered an unexpected phone call from a Utah Highway Patrol trooper.
“My mom had been driving on a flat tire until she ran out of gas on the highway and she had forgotten how to use her phone,” Gillis said. “She basically had a dementia moment and she got lost, going home.”
Egeia Gillis drove six hours from her Idaho home and ended up in Brigham City. “I was actually kind of scared,” Vanessa Gillis said.
She wasn’t there to comfort her mother.
“What would have happened you know, she could have spent the night out there,” Gillis said.
Trooper Adam Walker reassured her on the other end of the phone. He promised to get her mother home safely.
“I’ve actually had several incidents like this with elderly people,” Walker said. “It is a tough thing.”
He took Egeia Gillis to the hospital and then paid for her hotel room that night while family traveled to Utah to escort her back home the next day.
Vanessa Gillis sent a handwritten letter to the highway patrol the next day. She thanked the troopers she called heroes for keeping her mother safe.
“You just feel like you want to fly out there and hug them and tell them what a difference they made in one person’s life,” she said.
Walker did not think he was much of a hero.
“I’m just a trooper on the road,” Walker said. “I would never consider myself that, no.”
In Gillis’ book, he is. “They saved my mom,” she said.