Couple Stumbles Upon Driver Trapped in Car 2 Days

Woman had somehow gone through guardrail, over cliff
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 11, 2015 4:13 PM CDT

(Newser) – A young couple who stopped to take pictures at a scenic overlook in the Utah mountains thought the screams sounded like children playing in the distance at first. But as the cries persisted, Spencer Dryden and Cleo Jackson realized it wasn't kids. "Do you really need help?" Dryden yelled into the woods below. "Yes, I need emergency help," a woman said. "Call 911 right now." Dryden, 20, told the AP today that he traversed down a steep mountainside until he found the injured woman who had been trapped in her crushed car for two days. His girlfriend drove down the mountain to get cellphone reception and call for help. Their actions yesterday saved the life of Heather Blackwelder, 29, who plunged through a guardrail and several hundred feet off a steep and winding mountain road, authorities said; the cause of the accident is not yet known. Blackwelder suffered compound fractures to her legs but is expected to survive.

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Though the road is well-traveled, her car landed in a spot covered by trees that made it difficult to see. It could have been days, or weeks, before she was found, Utah County sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said. "She's very, very lucky to be alive," he said. Dryden found Blackwelder dirty, covered in dried blood, and unable to move her arm or legs. She complained of back pain. The entire car was smashed—except the driver's seat where Blackwelder was trapped, Dryden said. He promised her that he would get help and ran back to the switchback road in search of water. The first driver he stopped was skeptical of the story but eventually gave him water. Dryden rushed it to Blackwelder, then went back to the road. He ran into Mormon missionaries with walkie-talkies who called for help. A few hours later, Blackwelder was pulled from the wreckage and flown to a hospital. She was in serious condition today at the Utah Valley Medical Center in Provo. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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