06-05-2004, 11:17 AM #1Former Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2003
- In heels
Man drags himself to safety 3 days after wreck in Oldham
After three days of yelling for help at cars passing far above him, 19-year-old Christopher Bennett knew he wouldn't survive unless he got back to the road.
His body was bruised and swollen, and he was cold after sitting through torrential rains and strong winds. He had taken cover under his car, which lay smashed near the bottom of a steep ravine along Ky. 1694 in Oldham County.
On Sunday, he started to crawl, propelling himself mostly with his arms. He said he writhed in pain from a hip dislocated when he veered off the road at 2 a.m. last Thursday during a downpour to avoid a car that had crossed the center line.
He said it felt as though his hip had been shattered. But after several hours of pulling himself on his stomach through the mud along Harrods Creek, Bennett came to a slope less steep than the one he had tumbled down. He climbed back to Ky. 1694.
Sitting on a rock near the road, he waved his arms. But two drivers passed by.
Then he dragged himself into the middle of the road. After 3½ days stranded in the ravine, he would force the next car to help him or hit him. Moments later, a man stopped to help. But that driver didn't have a cell phone, so he flagged down the next driver, who called 911.
It was just before 3 p.m. Sunday. Bennett hadn't eaten since Wednesday.
"I was just thinking that I had to live long enough for them to realize that I was missing," said Bennett, a graduate of South Oldham High School, where he played football. "But after a couple of days I realized that wasn't going to happen. I yelled at every car that went by, but no one could hear me."
Where the wreck occurred, the road is 160 feet above the creek, and no one could see Bennett's overturned Mercury Cougar in the ravine because of the steep slope and the dense brush.
He couldn't call for help because his cell phone hadn't been activated, and no one knew for sure that he was missing, so no one searched for him. His father, Mark Bennett, said it wasn't unusual for Christopher to leave the house for a few days and not check in. His friends hadn't heard from him since he left a farewell party awhile before the crash, but they, too, said it wasn't abnormal to go several days without hearing from him.
When his car plummeted out of control, Bennett wasn't wearing a seat belt and he was ejected. When he stopped tumbling, he saw that his legs were bare — his denim shorts and athletic shoes had been ripped off as his car ricocheted off trees.
He saw his car skid to a halt near him, upside down.
Bennett said he usually wears a seat belt but is glad he didn't on this night. He wouldn't have survived, he said, had he remained inside the car. The roof was smashed into the seats. He spent more than 24 hours hunkered under the trunk of the car. By Friday morning, he knew he had to start drinking water to survive.