TONASKET — A Canadian man told officials he drove about 225 miles Sunday after his 75-year-old wife died in the car next to him before calling authorities to find out whether he could cross the Canadian border with her.
“He wasn’t sure what to do, so he kept driving,” said Tonasket Police Chief Robert Burks.
He declined to release the 71-year-old man’s name.
Burks said the couple was vacationing in Oregon when the woman began suffering from a medical condition. They were trying to get home to Oliver, B.C., but she died near Pasco, Wash., Burks said. The man called the vehicle emergency system, OnStar, outside of Tonasket, about 20 miles south of Canada, he said.
The man was asking to be put in touch with authorities at the border, said Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers, whose dispatchers received the call at about 2:15 p.m.
He said the dispatcher learned that he believed his wife had died, and convinced him to stop at the Tonasket Police Department. “I think it was just not registering that he needed to stop. He was taking her home, probably, to deal with it up there,” he said.
Burks said when the man arrived at the police station, his wife was transported to North Valley Hospital and pronounced dead there.
He said police determined there was nothing suspicious in her death, and have not asked for an autopsy.
The woman’s body is still in Tonasket, he said.
“I believe that different permits have to get done to get a body across. I think that’s all they’re waiting for,” he said.
K.C. Mehaffey: 997-2512