ATHOL, Idaho — Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies said a man who went missing during an ATV ride in Athol was found pinned against a tree and his vehicle on Sunday evening.
Howard "Butch" Coates, 66, was found by his brother Paul about 300 yards from Howard's house three days after he went missing on Thursday night.
Howard was found underneath his ATV by his brother Paul, who traveled across the state to help with the search.
"I go, 'Holy Crap you're alive.' And he goes, 'Yeah. I thought you'd be the one to find me. Have you got a cigarette?' And those were his first words," Paul said of finding his brother underneath his ATV.
Paul said he found him after spotting a single set of tire tracks going through tall grass. He said he decided to in a wooded area near Howard's house, which is where he has been known to frequently ride and just south of Silverwood Theme Park.
"To the right, we saw what looked like a big screen TV somebody had thrown out there. And we drove up to it slowly, and it was the bottom of my brother's quad, and he was laying underneath there," Paul said.
While first responders were searching other areas, Paul and Howard thanked the Kootenai County first responders for their search.
The sheriff's office said he had crashed his ATV off the road, ending up in an area that was not visible from the road or from the air. Coates was trapped at the scene of the crash for days before rescuers spotted him.
Coates was airlifted to Kootenai Health, where is receiving treatment for his injuries. Paul said his brother broke his hip and was suffering from dehydration after being outdoors for three days straight, in which the only water Howard drank was runoff from a rainstorm.
Coates left his home on N. Ponderosa Street in the area of Pope Road and Corbin Hall Road at about 7 p.m. on Thursday in his 2004 Camo Bombarier Outlander ATV and did not return.
Deputies said Coates was wearing pajama bottoms and no shirt when he set off on his ride, and did not have his medication with him.
The sheriff's office launched a search for Coates using a helicopter to fly over roads into the national forest they believed he might have taken. Kootenai County Volunteer Search and Rescue the Civil Air Patrol assisted in looking for the man, but searches came up empty.
The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office and a helicopter from Spokane County searched the area, including roads going into the national forest, on Thursday night.
"We would like to thank all the agencies and the public for their help during this incident," the sheriff's office said.