Elderly Calif. Woman Waits Days for Rescue

May 14, 2013
The woman's car hit a pole, and rolled down an embankment landing partially in a creek.

May 14--An 88-year-old woman spent more than two days trapped in her car after crashing off Porter Creek Road until she was rescued Monday morning, the CHP said.

Jean Wright of St. Helena was in serious condition at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital on Monday evening after suffering multiple fractures and dehydration during the ordeal, Officer Jon Sloat said.

Wright apparently left a friend's home in Petaluma at about 8 p.m. Friday and headed home. On a stretch Porter Creek Road that winds through the forested hills between Mark West Springs and Petrified Forest roads, the Toyota Corolla ran adrift.

The car struck and shattered a utility pole and rolled about 40 feet down an embankment, landing on its roof partially in a creek, officials said.

Wright endured at least 60 hours in the car, which was hidden from view from passenger vehicles, Sloat said.

But sometime Monday morning an Oakley man driving a tractor-trailer on Porter Creek Road thought he saw a car down the embankment, Sloat said.

On an eastbound return trip a short time later, Jesus Gutierrez, 48, pulled over and parked to take a better look, Sloat said.

He saw the crashed car and flagged down a passing Sonoma County sheriff's deputy who climbed down and found the woman, Sloat said.

Volunteers with Sonoma County's search and rescue team, who pulled over to help as they drove by the scene on their way to Lake County to help search for a missing child, had set up a rope when firefighters arrived.

Rincon Valley Fire Engineer Sid Andreis said Wright had managed to undo her seat belt and was lying on the overturned inside roof of the car when they began breaking windows to get inside to help her.

"She was conscious and talking with us but she was in a lot of pain, you could tell she had been there a while," Andreis said.

Rincon Valley, Santa Rosa and Mountain Volunteer Fire Department crews helped wedge open a rear door and place Wright onto a back board, he said. About a dozen people helped secure a rope system and carry the woman up the embankment, Andreis said.

You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or [email protected]. On Twitter @jjpressdem.

Copyright 2013 - The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.

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