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Missing county worker hikes out

Shavon Haynes, 26, gets stuck near Wagner Gap, sleeps in his pickup Tuesday night and hikes out Wednesday

After spending a cold night in the woods curled up inside the cab of his work truck, a hungry Shavon Haynes woke up Wednesday and hiked about six miles before flagging down a passing motorist, who drove him to a Talent store for a bite to eat.

I had some jojos and a bean burrito, Haynes said. And they didn't charge me for the ranch (dressing), which is good, because I only had two bucks on me.

A Jackson County search and rescue team spent about 16 hours Tuesday night and Wednesday morning scouring the Little Applegate River watershed looking for Haynes, 26, a county watermaster employee from Medford who was reported missing by his family at about 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Haynes, who was working in the area, said he decided to take a back road instead of using Highway 238 on his return trip to Medford on Tuesday evening. He drove to the Wagner Gap area before making a wrong turn and sliding off a snow-covered road into a ditch, Medford police said.

After spending a few hours trying to dig out his Ford Ranger work truck, Haynes called it a night and climbed back into the pickup for a few hours of sleep.

— I wasn't lost ' I was just stuck, Haynes said Wednesday afternoon from his home, where about a dozen friends and family members gathered to celebrate his safe return.

I guess that's what I get for trying to take a shortcut, he said.

With no food and a pair of cell phones that proved useless from the remote location, Haynes woke up Wednesday morning and began his long hike toward Talent.

He walked about six miles before a man driving along Wagner Creek Road spotted Haynes and drove him to Tark's Market. Haynes notified his family and co-workers that he was safe, then bought his burrito and jojos.

We all let out this huge sigh of relief and were elated to know he was OK, said Kelly Madding, Jackson County economic and special development director. He just got turned around up there and became stuck in the snow. He made the right decision to stay with the vehicle.

Madding said she hopes Haynes will today lead other watermaster employees to the pickup he left in the hills.

Haynes said he never panicked during his overnight adventure, and had no idea that a search and rescue team was using a helicopter and all-terrain vehicles in an attempt to locate him.

I was fine because I knew where I was, he said. There was plenty of fresh water up there. I just got a little hungry.

Shavon Haynes holds his daughter, Lola May Haynes, 6? months. Both are all smiles after his 'rescue.' Mail Tribune / Jim Craven - Mail Tribune Jim Craven