Snowstorm survivor returns safely to Ind. home

February 12, 2010 5:54:23 PM PST
An Ind. man is back home with his family in Chesterton Friday night after surviving four days in the Colo. mountains during a snowstorm. Jason Pede ran out of gas and collapsed as he tried to hike back to the highway.Pede, 31, says he is glad to be home with his loving family: wife Amanda and children Lexi, Roselyn and Tegan.

Roselyn made her father a card telling him how much she missed and loved him.

The family flew to Colorado to drive Jason Pede back home.

"The tightness was there prior to seeing them," he said. "I was overwhelmed, and trying to drive home was another feat in itself."

Pede was reported missing for four days, stranded somewhere in the Rio Grande National Forest, and stuck in the snow.

Pede was driving a rescue dog from California to Colorado and says his GPS led him in the wrong direction. He went without food, only surviving on snow water.

When Pede finally ran out of fuel, he decided to leave his car and walk seven miles to a highway.

That is when passersby found him collapsed.

"I thought I was going to be raising three kids on my own," said Amanda Pede.

Amanda Pede says she spent her days at the computer trying to trace his routes. She says could not believe it when she got a call telling her that her husband was alive and safe.

"I could not hold it together any longer. I cried so hard," she said.

The Pede family says they haven't been very religious, but the experience has brought them closer together. It has changed their lives, and they are glad they've been given a second chance

Jason Pede says what gave him strength during his ordeal was knowing that he had a family back home that needed him.

The couple has been together for 13 years. They met in high school and are each others strength.

"I thinking about leaving Mandy, not having help to deal with my kids. I was worried about my kids not having a dad," Jason Pede said.

Pede says the rescue dog has been delivered to its owner and has been named Lucky.