Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Missing dirt biker turns up unharmed

LAKE COUNTY – A Sebastopol man who went missing on Sunday while dirt bike riding on Cow Mountain turned up on Monday afternoon – exhausted, hungry but unharmed.


Shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday the Lake County Sheriff's Office received a report that 24-year-old Sean Wesley Levine and a group of friends from the Santa Rosa area had been riding their dirt bikes on both the Mendocino and Lake County sides of Cow Mountain during the day and Levine had become separated from the group, according to Capt. James Bauman.


Bauman said Levine had been last seen at about 4 p.m. in the area of Scotts and Benmore creeks as the group was making their way back to their vehicles on the Mendocino side.


Patrol deputies from both the Lake and Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office searched their respective sides of the Cow Mountain area. Bauman said by 11:30 p.m., when deputies were unable to locate Levine, Lake County Search and Rescue was activated to take over the search.


He said Search and Rescue teams combed the area throughout the night and at about 5:30 a.m. on Monday, Levine’s motorcycle and riding gear were located on the side of the Mendo-Lake Road to Ukiah. The motorcycle was undamaged and empty of fuel.


At around daybreak on Monday morning, a helicopter contracted for searching out illegal marijuana grows was diverted to the area to assist with the search for Levine, said Bauman.


But an air search of the trails connecting to the area the motorcycle was found, numerous phone calls to Lakeport area motels, and an extended search by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department of the roads from Cow Mountain to Ukiah all resulted in no sign of Levine, Bauman said.


As a result, Bauman said that at about 9:30 a.m. Monday the search for Levine was suspended pending further leads as to his whereabouts.


However, the apparently grim situation ended with Levine walking into the University of California Field Station in Hopland shortly before 4:30 p.m. Monday, said Bauman. The station called the sheriff's dispatch to report Levine's appearance.


Bauman said he called the field station office and spoke to Levin. While hungry and exhausted, Levine was otherwise unharmed.


Officials had suspected Levine had run out of fuel, which Bauman said did, indeed, turn out to be the case.


Levine told Bauman he started walking until it got too dark to see, and then started a small fire on the trail he was on and slept in the wilderness all night.


At daybreak, Levine started walking again along unknown creek beds and trails until he somehow reached Hopland, Bauman said.


Bauman said Levine didn't know where he came out of the recreational area or even what road he found to get to Hopland.

While Levine heard the searching helicopter a couple of times on Monday morning, the helicopter couldn't see him because of the distance, Bauman said.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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