BROWNFIELD — A Massachusetts woman was lucky her cell phone caught a weak single for a minute or two Monday night when her compact car got stuck in a ditch after her GPS led her astray onto a snowmobile trail.
Deputy William Nelson of the Oxford County Sheriff's Office said Lori Corderro, of Medway, Mass., traveled to Maine on Monday afternoon to visit a friend in Lovell. The woman, who is in her mid-50s, was using a global positioning system in her Toyota Yaris to get directions to the residence but kept getting lost. Nelson said that she finally gave up, decided to head home and entered her hometown in the system.
That's when her trouble really started.
"I pulled up and couldn't believe she went in there," Nelson said of the snowmobile trail where he found Corderro later that night. "It goes from a crappy dirt road that is all ice to a snowmobile trail that could probably fit two snowmobiles."
Nelson said that Corderro's GPS took her home through Brownfield, and was likely taking her to Interstate 95 via southern Oxford County at about 5 p.m. However, the system took the unfamiliar driver on Windsor Road, off Potato Hill Road. The road goes a short distance before becoming a snowmobile trail.
Corderro traveled roughly a half-mile down the snowmobile trail before her vehicle got stuck in a ditch, Nelson said. Due to limited, spotty cell phone service in the area, she was not able to get a signal of any kind until about 9 p.m. Her 911 call was routed to Carroll County, N.H.
When Nelson arrived at the scene, he said his cruiser was only able to go about 150 yards onto the trail before he started to get stuck. He called for help and Fryeburg Rescue came to the scene with an all-terrain vehicle. Corderro was taken to a hotel in New Hampshire, where she stayed for the night, and returned to Potato Hill Road on Tuesday morning.
"If you don't exclude 'dirt road,' then the GPS will pick up the (worst) roads," Nelson said, adding that two similar incidents happened last month.
Both mishaps involved drivers unfamiliar with the area who were traveling to Sunday River. Typing the location into the GPS system and asking it to calculate the shortest distance leads unknowing travelers onto Patch Mountain Road, a discontinued road used by snowmobiles, Nelson said.