Elderly South Dakota man drives in fog, makes wrong turn, turns up days later in Minnesota

Categories: Outstate MN
Johnson roadtrip.jpg
Britton, SoDak is a helluva long way from Grand Rapids (represented by black dot in Northern MN).
From the 'why people older than the average life expectancy maybe shouldn't be allowed to drive' department:

A 82-year-old Britton, South Dakota man was driving in dense fog Friday night near his home when he got lost. He turned up almost two days later in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

Leonard Johnson apparently made two horribly wrong turns during his unwanted road trip -- one that sent him to North Dakota, and another that somehow sent him east to Itasca County, Minnesota.

According to the Grand Forks Herald, a man matching Johnson's description and driving a blue 1990 Ford F-150 truck stopped at a Suzuki dealership in Grand Forks about 8 a.m. Saturday to ask for directions. Around the same time 205 miles south in Marshall County, South Dakota, authorities were already searching for Johnson, who was last seen the night before.

Though the Herald report doesn't provide more detail, Johnson presumably stopped at the dealership to ask for direction back to his native SoDak. But the next morning he turned up hundreds of miles east in Grand Rapids -- suggesting that either the dealership employee gave Johnson the worst directions in world history or that someone really needs to get the old man a GPS unit soon.

Anyway, Johnson is now back safe and sound in Britton, so at least his fog-induced wrong turn from hell has a happy ending.

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Mike W
Mike W

He had to stop for gas at some point, right?  Grand Forks to Grand Rapids is a straight shot down U.S. Highway 2, with LOTS of towns along the way.  Not to mention I-29 north from Britton to Grand Forks (presuming that is the way he went).


I have totally driven an hour the wrong way out of some strange need to see the right sign before acting, and shamed & misplaced-prideful refusal to admit I did something stupid by asking for directions. Then, once you've admitted that you're lost, the obstinance kicks in, and you want to refuse to turn around, because it's up to the road to apologize and make things better, not you!

I'm 24, so multiply that by nearly 4; add bad weather, memory loss or potential degenerative brain disorders and the never-ending, billboard-lined sameness of all those interstates, and it almost seems plausible that this could happen to a lot of people. Almost.

Maybe he just needed to get out of the house.

By the way, how many miles did he drive?

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