Woman survives 5 days stuck in ravine in wrecked car

Posted at 12:49 PM, Dec 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-07 12:49:19-05

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, VA (WSLS/CNN) - A woman is recovering in the hospital, and her boyfriend is dead after an accident trapped them in a ravine last week.

Authorities said their car went into the ravine after the gas pedal got stuck.

Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Deputy Cpl. Robert Grubbs was off duty Tuesday when he received a call about a search underway for a couple that had been missing since last Thursday.

"I put my uniform on, responded to the area to assist with the search," he said.

He was leaving the couple's home after a search of the property didn't turn up any clues when he noticed something unusual across the street.

"I look across the road, and I see where it looks like a vehicle might've transversed through the weeds," Grubbs said.

When he went to take a closer look, he saw the sunlight reflecting off of the grill of a car.

"At this point, I then heard somebody yell for help," Grubbs said.

The person calling for help, Sandra Stephens, had been trapped in the car since last Thursday.

She and her boyfriend were backing out of their driveway when the gas pedal in the car got stuck. The car shot backwards, down the ravine. 

When the car came to rest, her boyfriend got out and tried to get help, but he couldn't get up the ravine, Brosville Fire Chief Kevin Farris said. 

"Due to the briars and the overgrowth of the cutover, he was unable to make it," Farris said. He was found dead next to the car.

The car's battery died because Stephens had tried honking the horn and flashing the lights to get help. 

"We assessed her, started treatment, and we packaged her in a Stokes basket and actually put a cable to the crash truck and winched her back up the hill," Farris said.

"She looked up and she said, 'Is that a fire truck?' I said, 'Yes, ma'am.' She said, 'Praise God,'" Farris said.

He said he has never had a call like this before, and noted that this just goes to show that first responders have to be prepared for anything.

"We're set up as a fire department, but we also do rescue," Farris said. "We do have a crash truck with capable equipment and we do run ambulances out of here also. So we have to be ready for any type of call."

State police are investigating the crash.

The body of Stephens' boyfriend has been sent to the medical examiner's office to determine a cause of death.

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