Wanda Mobley swerved to avoid something in the remote highway, and seconds later was trapped inside her wrecked car in a ravine in Texas. The 75-year-old widow couldn't walk, yet pulled herself through the broken windshield and survived the next two days by soaking her T-shirt in a nearby pond to get water.
From her hospital room on Tuesday, Mobley described the hours she spent hearing the occasional vehicle pass above her but being too weak and scared to crawl through the brushy area along Highway 183 for help.
Her mobile phone wasn't getting service, and all she had was soda and the pond water.
"From where the road was, nobody could see the car," Mobley told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "The windshield was cracked big time, but none of it (the glass) was out. I pulled the rearview mirror off the windshield, pulled big holes in it until I could get out."
She said the accident occurred Friday, when she was about three hours into a 500km road trip to a family reunion in Oklahoma. It wasn't until Sunday that a signal from her phone led her frantic relatives to search an area near Seymour, a Texas city about 140 miles north of her home in Brownwood.
Mobley — who fractured her back in the accident — was listed in good condition Tuesday at United Regional Health Care System in nearby Wichita Falls, according to hospital spokeswoman Kim Maddin.
"I'm feeling better," said Mobley, who has four children, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. "Whenever they found me, I was pretty weak."
Relatives reported her missing when she didn't show up in Oklahoma and soon began to help in the search. Wesley Finley, who is married to one of Mobley's granddaughters, said he saw a highway sign knocked down in the area and a sign indicating a corner.
"I went back to where I knew that sign was knocked out. Got out, went and looked and saw the car parts, the bumper, the horn, the mirrors," Finley told the AP in a phone interview from the hospital. "So I go back to my car, drive down the highway to where I could see down the ravine."
He spotted Mobley's car, which was sitting on its side, then summoned emergency help as he and others converged on the crash site.
Mobley, who hopes to soon be discharged to a rehabilitation unit, said she had long been comfortable driving on her own — but not anymore. She also said she never gave up hope.
"When I landed down there Friday, when I finally settled down there a little bit, I told the Lord, 'If you want me to die take me now, don't make me suffer,'" Mobley said. "I knew I was going to be rescued. I just never even thought of anything else."