“I realized at some point that his car was invisible,” Sergeant Cawley, a 22-year State Police veteran, said. “It was here. I just couldn’t see it.”
He said he decided on a new tack: He drove to one end of the stretch he had been searching, got out of his vehicle and climbed up one side of the snowbank and down the other, looking for a sign of the missing car. He repeated the exercise every 100 yards, he said.
After a time, he said, he learned from the 911 center that a call had just come in from Mr. Kresen’s phone but had almost immediately been cut short. The call center was, however, able to provide an address where the call appeared to have come from, and Sergeant Cawley said he used the computer in his car to confirm it.
Arriving at the spot and getting out of his car, he said, he noticed a section of snowbank that was about six inches taller than the rest. Thinking it was a row of mailboxes, he began to dig away at the snow in hopes of determining that he had the right address. That, he said, was when he hit the car window.
“My heart nearly jumped,” he said.
As for Mr. Kresen’s reaction, the sergeant said, “He was excited as he could be.”
Mr. Kresen told Sergeant Cawley through the window that he could not feel his feet. A passer-by helped dig away enough snow to get Mr. Kresen out of the car. Sergeant Cawley took him to a local ambulance corps; from there Mr. Kresen was taken to Ascension Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, where he was treated for frostbite and hypothermia and released.
The spot where Mr. Kresen was trapped was not far from a house where he could have presumably sought help, but Sergeant Cawley said he might not have realized that because the house was white and did not stand out in the heavy snow.