A California man whose car overturned on the highway last week has been found alive, but unconscious, in a wooded area near an off-ramp, a week after his family last heard from him.
Authorities found Michael Sanchez Jr., a 25-year-old San Jose resident, lying in thick bushes off the side of Highway 101 in South San Jose on Tuesday. He was unresponsive, reported NBCBayArea.com, and was taken to San Jose Regional Medical Center, where he remains hospitalized, police said. Authorities aren't releasing any additional details about his condition, but his sister, Pricilla Sanchez, told KGO-TV that he was still unconscious Wednesday night.
"Right now, Michael's on life support," she told KGO.
While Pricilla waits to see if her brother will survive, she's also waiting for answers from the police on why they didn't find him sooner.
Sanchez's family last heard from him around 1 a.m. Tuesday, May 8, according to San Jose police, but didn't become concerned about his wherabouts until two days later, when he failed to show up for a funeral service for a relative. After the service, the Sanchez family called San Jose police to report him missing.
Detectives had little information to go on, until Monday, when they learned California Highway Patrol had towed an overturned tan 1991 Ford Ranger pickup early on the day of the crash on Highway 101 in South San Jose, reported The San Jose Mercury News. Witnesses told officers they saw a man climb out of the pickup and leave the area, which is next to a county park.
Authorities from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office searched for him for about an hour, California Highway Patrol Lt. Les Bishop told The Mercury News, but they came up empty-handed.
"We were looking all over for this gentleman," said CHP Lt. Les Bishop. "We not only searched the immediate area and the brush, but we checked the shoulders on the freeway, the neighborhoods and the adjacent park."
Patrol officers say they ran the registration on the truck and the address tied to it was in Visalia, nearly 200 miles away in California's Central Valley --a cold lead, reported KGO.
But this week, after learning more details about Sanchez through his missing persons report, San Jose police returned to the crash site.
Detectives hiked into the wooded area and found Sanchez "in a location where he was not visible from the roadway or to passing motorists," according to San Jose police.
It's unclear what happened to Sanchez after he got out of his overturned truck, and at what point he lost consciousness. His sister told KGO that despite the vehicle registration confusion, she doesn't understand why California Highway Patrol stopped searching.
"If they did their search, they should have found my brother's body," Pricilla Sanchez said. "If I report it, my brother missing on that Thursday, they should have traced that truck. If CHP picked up his truck on the 8th, why didn't they report, 'I found a truck, there's a person missing.' You know, why wasn't I informed?"
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