Resourceful Man Survived 17 Hours Trapped Under SUV

A North Carolina man fell asleep at the wheel of his car last month, causing his SUV to veer off the road and tumble 60 feet down into a ravine. Against the odds, driver Joe Woodring, 21, survived the crash, but was trapped under the SUV for 17 hours.

Luckily, someone heard his calls for help 17 hours later and alerted police. Woodring is in good spirits today, recovering from the incident and the subsequent amputation of his left leg.


“It’s just incredible to me,” his aunt, Trish Miller, told ABC News. “He’s never said the first negative thing.”

Although Woodring is out of the woods and resting now, he had to keep active during his 17-hour stint under the vehicle’s weight in order to survive.

“From the time it stopped, he was awake and conscious,” his aunt explained. “He was very smart. He caught rain water in a little can to drink. He made a pillow out of grass, stuffed his shirt full of grass. And he had his pocket knife and cut the lining of the seat to get the cloth to make a blanket. He’s definitely a survivalist.”

Woodring, of Boone, North Carolina, is recovering at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. His leg has been amputated above the knee and he is undergoing physical therapy to recover. He uses a walker to navigate the hospital and his aunt posts regular updates on his condition to Facebook to keep relatives from worrying.

Doctors estimate he’ll be ready to return to his grandmother, with whom he lives, in two weeks.


“When we comes home, he’ll be in a wheelchair for a while,” said his grandmother, Tempie Ruth Woodring. “Then they’ll work on getting him a leg.”

Although Woodring misses the opportunity to hunt, Miller said they’re all in good spirits about his future.

“He’s our little miracle,” she said. “He knows it’s going to be a rough road for a while. But he knows he’s going to be able to walk again. He’s got that drive. And technology today is limitless.”