Thursday, June 17, 2021

A Very Long Walk:
Wyoming County deputies help woman trekking from NY City to Chicago IL

PORTAGEVILLE — When a Wyoming County sheriff’s deputy and a sergeant responded to a gas station in Portageville to help a woman, it turned out to be a service call that doesn’t come into the county Sheriff’s Office very often. On Monday, the department posted on its Facebook page, Deputy William “Bill” Asquith and Sgt. Aaron Chase assisted a pedestrian who stopped for a break on State Route 19A in the hamlet. The pedestrian, Olivia — no last name reported — was traveling on foot from New York City to Chicago, Illinois.

“Deputies assisted her by giving her a ride into Erie County and provided her with further directions to her destination,” the Sheriff’s Office summarized the incident on Facebook.

“We first responded to the gas station in Portageville after the female, Olivia called us for help directly. She was looking to obtain better directions and did not want to solely trust her map,” Asquith said in an email to The Daily News. “We also received phone calls from concerned citizens that were passing by. Olivia did not have any ID on her, but was very nice and willingly provided her information.” Asquith said he asked Olivia where she was coming from and where she was trying to go.

“She responded that she was on her way back to Illinois after visiting NYC. Olivia never told me if she was here to see anyone or to do anything in particular while she was here,” he said. “She told Sergeant Chase that she was looking to make it to Chicago, Ill. Olivia never asked for any assistance other than confirming that her directions were accurate.

“Sergeant Chase ultimately decided to take her to Springville and drop her off at the gas station right in downtown Springville. Prior to arrival to Springville, Sergeant Chase stopped at the gas station in Yorkshire so that she could fill her water bottle. Sergeant Chase also felt Springville was a good drop-off due to the area being safe with open businesses and well-lit streets,” Asquith said. “Sergeant Chase wanted her to have a hospital available (Bertrand Chaffee Hospital) just in case. Olivia was very appreciative for the help and made note that she only calls the police when she needs help because she doesn’t trust anyone else.”

Sheriff Gregory Rudolph said, in the same email, that Olivia was not injured or ill and seemed to be in good health physically and mentally.

“These interactions do not happen a lot in Wyoming County, but we do get called to check on pedestrians on occasion particularly in the summer months,” he said. “The deputies do their best to assess each situation with the information available and lend a hand in the most appropriate way. Sometimes, it may be a ride, sometimes a ride is refused, sometimes another resource is needed: Mental Health, DSS (Department of Social Services), etc. The facts determine how we can help the best.”

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