Local dispatcher helps lost hikers out of Shawnee National Forest


Web Editor - Ryan Burkett

STONEFORT, Ill. - Crews assisted five Hardin County, Illinois residents, including a 2-year-old child, in getting out of the Shawnee National Forest over the weekend.

Saline County Central Dispatch received a 911 call Sunday night stating that the group had been hiking near Burden Falls and had gotten lost.

Dispatcher Tammy Norris kept the caller, Kayla Roberts, on the phone and helped the group walk out of the remote area near the Pope-Saline County line.

Norris found the group's location by plotting Roberts' cell phone onto digital mapping at Saline County Central Dispatch. Norris then provided turn-by-turn directions until the group reached a rural road. A Saline County deputy met with the group at the road.

All five people escaped the forest unharmed.

The walk from where the call originated to the country road took nearly a mile, with Norris giving directions the whole way. The Pope County Sheriff's Office also assisted with the call.

Saline County Sheriff Keith Brown is reminding hikers and travelers into the forest to take bottled water, flashlights and other items in the event of getting lost.