Woman survives 3 days trapped in car down embankment

ODOT bridge inspectors helped rescue her

70-year-old Judith Ashby was trapped in car for three days. (KVAL)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Seventy-year-old Judith Ashby is lucky to be alive after spending 3 days trapped in her car down an embankment in rural Lane County.

Ashby said she fell asleep behind the wheel on Friday along Highway 58 near Eugene as she was driving home from work in Klamath Falls.

Days later, an ODOT bridge crew spotted her car and rescued her.

“It was lucky that we came across her,” said Mike Deller, who along with Ren Wisemen. was inspecting culverts for ODOT when he heard a call for help and saw Ashby’s car crumpled in Duval Creek.

70-year-old Judith Ashby was trapped in her car in Duval Creek for 3 days. (ODOT)
70-year-old Judith Ashby was trapped in her car in Duval Creek for 3 days. (ODOT)

“She stepped out from behind it and looked like she needed some help,” Deller said.

He made his way down the 50-foot embankment and was shocked to learn that she had been there for 3 days.

“My first instinct was to go down there and grab her and put her on my back and take her up the hill,” Wiseman said.

They called an ambulance, but paramedics needed special tools to get through the brushy area. Then Wiseman and Deller helped EMTs lift her up and out of the embankment.

Ashby is still recovering in at a hospital in Springfield, but she’s in fair condition.

She told KOIN 6 News she’s thankful for the workers who found her. She said she tried to crawl out of the embankment herself, but it was too steep for her to get out

Ashby had her 2 dogs with at the time. One was rescued with her while the other died as a result of the crash. The surviving dog was rescued by rescuers forming a human chain to pass him up the hill.

Family members of her said by the look of her car, it’s hard to believe she survived the crash.

Wiseman and Deller received an award for ODOT Thursday for their work rescuing Ashby but they say they were just doing their jobs.

“She accepted the fact that she was going to be down there and was just hoping and praying that someone would come along and we were just kind of doing our job,” Deller said.