DRAYTON, N.D. — A pickup and boat trailer fished out of the Red River on Saturday, Sept. 12, in Drayton belonged to a Salol, Minn., angler, Pembina County Sheriff Terry Meidinger said Monday.
The owner of the trailer and 1997 Dodge Ram pickup was in Cavalier, N.D., on Monday, Meidinger said. Personnel from Grand Forks County Water Rescue retrieved the pickup and boat trailer Saturday afternoon, and they were taken to the sheriff’s office impound lot in Cavalier, Meidinger said.
The red pickup, which was upside down on the bottom of the river just downstream from the Hastings Landing boat ramp in Drayton, was covered with silt and zebra mussels. Judging by its condition, the pickup had been in the river a long time. The trailer was in similar condition.
The owner of the pickup thought the incident had occurred in about 2009, Meidinger said.
Chris Dolan, a Grafton, N.D., native now living in the Twin Cities, initially spotted the truck and trailer Sept. 3 on his Humminbird Helix 10 depth finder. Brandon Oby of St. Thomas, N.D., who was fishing with Dolan that afternoon, contacted Drayton Mayor Chip Olson, who in turn notified authorities. The Helix 10 is equipped with side-imaging technology that paints a three-dimensional picture of anything it “sees” within a wide swath of the bottom.
The pickup and trailer apparently were about 30 yards downstream from the ramp and 15 yards or so offshore. A tree or deadhead that had been in the area for several years but since washed away may have prevented boats from venturing close enough to detect the submerged pickup and trailer on their electronics, Oby said.
Still unclear is whether the pickup and trailer carried a boat that Oby and a friend, Mike Johnson of Drayton, had rescued from the river downstream from Drayton Dam about a decade ago. In recalling the incident, Oby last week said he had been contacted about a mishap that had occurred while a boat was being loaded at the Hastings Landing river access.
The Red was rising and approaching flood stage at the time of the incident, Oby said.
“I think the kid was out testing a boat on the water and he was on the ramp and the vehicle went into gear and ran him over,” Oby said in a story published Saturday. “I remember he had ‘road rash’ on him, and by the time he came to or figured out what was what, nothing was there – no boat, no trailer, no vehicle.”
Oby and Johnson then found the boat a couple of days later washed up in the trees on the North Dakota side of the river below Drayton Dam, a good 5 miles from where the mishap had occurred.