Missing Elderly Man Found Alive at Great Southern
A 78-year-old man wandered from his Bridgeville home late Tuesday night and was found early Wednesday morning by a Kirwan Heights medic.
A 78-year-old man who wandered from his Bridgeville home late Tuesday night was found alive by a paramedic searching for him behind Great Southern Shopping Center.
Police, firefighters and a rescue helicopter began searching for the man, whose name was not released, around 11 p.m. Tuesday after he left his Bridgeville home.
But nothing was turning up as police from Bridgeville, Collier, Scott and Carnegie searched for him into the early hours Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, Joe Wissel Jr., who is the Kirwan Heights EMS director, was working on an ambulance with another medic in the Peter’s Place parking lot. As they heard the radio traffic and saw the Medevac rescue helicopter circling above, Wissel decided they should take a quick spin around the shopping centers near Route 50.
“Let’s go for a ride just to see,” Wissel said. “It couldn’t hurt.”
While the one medic checked the Chartiers Valley Shopping Center, Wissel drove his rig over to the back of Great Southern where he saw a man who appeared disoriented leaning against a fence shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday.
“I asked him, ‘Have you been walking all night?’” Wissel recounted.
The man told him his name said, “I’m tired.”
Wissel contacted dispatchers and Bridgeville police were able to identify him as the missing man. The medics treated him for some cuts on his arms and hands, and took him home in the ambulance.
“It wasn’t blind luck, but for some reason I just had a feeling,” Wissel said. “We were happy because everyone was able to get to sleep (Tuesday) night. It could’ve gone on all night.”
Wissel, who is also Heidelberg’s fire chief, said it’s not the first time they’ve found a missing elderly person at Great Southern Shopping Center. He thinks the long history of the center possibly triggered memories and gave the man a reason to walk through the woods to the area behind Bottom Dollar.