Utah Woman Survives Two Days Trapped in Car After Mountain-Side Crash

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Elisha Fieldstadt and Jacob Rascon

A woman who sat bloodied and trapped in her car for two days after it plunged off the side of a mountain in Utah was found alive by a couple who heard her screaming for help and found her car buried in thick brush.

Heather Blackwelder, 29, is being treated at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, and is stable, officials said. But she would have been a lot worse off — or even dead — if Spencer Dryden and his girlfriend, Cleo Jackson, hadn't been out sightseeing on Thursday.

Blackwelder was driving in American Fork Canyon, about 30 miles south of Salt Lake City, on Tuesday when her car broke through a guardrail and plummeted several hundred feet down the side of a mountain, according to a statement from the Utah County Sheriff's Office. She couldn't get out of the car, which was concealed by thick forest.

"Somebody going by, driving by, riding by on a motorcycle, riding by even on a bicycle — would have been very little chance of them to hear her, and almost zero chance for them to see her," said Utah County Sheriff's Office spokesman Spencer Cannon.

But someone heard her. Dryden and Jackson were taking pictures when they heard Blackwelder calling for help.

"I saw the car eventually and I headed straight towards the car, you know, and I told her, you know, 'I'm your help,'" Dryden said. "The first thought that came to my mind was let her ... be in one piece, which she was."

Blackwelder, a mother of two, had to be pried from the top of the mangled car and likely had some broken bones, but she was lucid, Cannon said. She was flown to helicopter to the hospital.

Blackwelder told police she had been pinned in the car for two days.

"Had it been much longer, we could've been talking about a very different outcome," Cannon said. "She's really fortunate right now," he said.

"She just got super lucky that I was able to find her," Dryden echoed, but he doesn't think his response was exceptional.

"If anybody else heard somebody crying for help, i'm pretty sure they would have ... helped them out also," Dryden said.