MISSOULA — An avalanche Friday in central Idaho took the life of a Corvallis man. Family and Ravalli County community members mourn the loss of thirty-year-old Andy Jessop, a father to five, mechanic and owner of Innovative Auto Services, and member of the Ravalli County Police Reserves.
Jessop was snowmobiling with a group of people in an area of central Idaho known as Smiley Creek in the Sawtooth National Forest when the avalanche occurred.
Because Jessop was a member of the Ravalli County Police Reserves, his body was escorted back from Idaho with a procession of vehicles late Friday night. Beginning at Lost Trail Pass all the way to Hamilton, fire department, Montana Highway Patrol, Ravalli and Missoula County Sheriff's vehicles chaperoned Jessop's return to Corvallis.
Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton supervised Jessop in his position. He spoke to MTN News about the loss to the community. "We’re really going to miss him. We’re just hoping we can support his wife and family as much as we possibly can. He was really well-liked, very honest, and very busy because of that, so I think it’s going to be hard on the whole community," Holton said.
Jessop is survived by his wife and five children, as well as family in Montana and Utah. A GoFundMe page set up for the Jessop family has raised more than $60,000 in the last day. Peterson said they are overwhelmed by the love and support. "It's been really beautiful to see how much love people had for Andy and his family," she added.
MTN News followed up with Sawtooth Avalanche Center who responded to the incident. They said people should always check avalanche forecasts in areas before heading into the backcountry and only choose terrain that's appropriate to the conditions. After understanding current conditions, the center said it's important for everyone in a group to have the proper avalanche equipment - at a minimum: an avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe.