A 52-year-old woman was spotted by a motorist and rescued Friday after spending nearly two days trapped in her crumpled car, which had rolled down a freeway embankment in Sylmar, authorities said.
Jolene Donohue of Santa Clarita was trapped when her car veered off the westbound Foothill Freeway, rolled over and came to rest wheels down in rugged terrain 70 feet below, authorities said. The force of the crash jammed the doors shut and cut electrical power to the windows of her 1998 Mazda 626 sedan, leaving Donohue wedged in the vehicle, authorities said. She also suffered a broken ankle.
Donohue's family had reported her missing, saying that she was last seen at 9 p.m. Wednesday in La Crescenta. Additional details about Donohue's travels before the accident were not immediately known.
Shortly after noon on Friday, motorist John Teslich of Stockton saw Donohue when he pulled off the Foothill Freeway near the Golden State Freeway and got out of his car, said California Highway Patrol Sgt. Rick Sirovy.
"He went down the hill, tapped on the glass and saw that she was conscious," Sirovy said. "He flagged down a UPS driver, who called the CHP."
Rescue workers arrived at 12:20 p.m., cut through the car's roof, removed Donohue and placed her in an ambulance, said Bob Collis, a spokesman for the Los Angeles City Fire Department.
Firefighter Carl Cook of Station 87 in Northridge, who responded to the scene, said the car could not be seen by motorists traveling along nearby freeways and transition roads because it was obscured by rolling hills. The car's color also made it difficult to spot, Cook said.
"It was a bronze color that blended into the brush," he said. "In the spring, when everything is green, it would have stuck out like a sore thumb."
Donohue was taken to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills where she was in serious condition, but responsive and alert, a nursing supervisor said late Friday.
Temperatures have dipped into the mid-40s over the past two nights. Authorities said they did not know whether Donohue had any food or water. "This is one of the luckiest acts of God ever," Cook said. "That car could have been spotted six months from now."