Man survives in wrecked car for 12 hours

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Sunday, December 25, 2016

PLAINS, PA (KTRK) -- Days before Christmas, 52-year-old Brian Smith is sitting in a hospital bed and reading get well cards from his family -- but he isn't complaining.

In fact, Smith is counting his blessings.

Earlier this week, he was driving on Interstate 81 in Pennsylvania when his car flipped over an embankment. After the accident, Smith had no way to call for help -- his cell phone was ejected from the cup holder during the crash.

"I heard them call my phone, heard my ringtones. I'm laying there like, 'Boy, I wish I could answer that phone, but I can't!'" Smith told WBRE-TV.

For the next 12 hours, Brian, who had sustained four broken ribs and a fractured ankle, was trapped alone in the dark and bitter cold.

He never lost consciousness, and, perhaps more importantly, he never lost hope.

"I knew he was there. Like in your gut, you kind of know," his sister, Shirley Whitesell, said.

The GPS feature on Brian's phone eventually helped first responders find him.

Smith says he wouldn't call his experience a Christmas miracle, but he is happy the ending is just as good.