Driver stranded for days on side of Mississippi highway after car crash, troopers say

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A South Mississippi woman says she’s grateful to be alive after a car crash left her stranded alongside a busy highway. Days passed before anyone found her.

“Then I don’t know what happened,” Petal resident Shanna Culpepper told WDAM. “I just know that whenever I woke up, the airbags were blown in the car and I was in a creek pretty much.”

Culpepper, 31, was driving northbound on Interstate 59 when she lost control of her Honda Accord and hit a concrete culvert, according to Mississippi Highway Patrol. The crash occurred Nov. 19, WDAM reported, and Culpepper spent three days trapped in her wrecked car until help arrived.

Troopers responded to the scene Monday, Nov. 22, after a man walking along the interstate spotted her car, according to a news release obtained by McClatchy News. It was stuck in a drainage canal, and the man flagged down a driver for help after hearing screams, the Laurel Leader-Call reported.

Heavy vegetation made it hard to see the car from the highway, according to the publication. Culpepper also said she was unable to call for help after losing her phone in the wreck, she told WDAM.

State troopers said she suffered severe injuries in the crash and was airlifted to a hospital for treatment.

Culpepper credited the man, who she said was homeless, with saving her life and thanked him with $100.

“He’s like, ‘I can get a bus ticket home.’ Now I’m going to be okay,” she said, according to WDAM. “And, you know, that’s, I guess, that’s why I stayed down there for 72 hours, you know. Because I had to be somebody else’s blessing for them to be my blessing.”

A Washington woman was stranded for four days in a similar incident after crashing her car down a steep embankment last week, McClatchy News reported. The 68-year-old was reported missing after leaving a friend’s home but was later rescued from the snowy hill.

“It was snow-covered up,” Chelan County Fire District 6 Chief Phil Mosher told the Wenatchee World. “It was fairly simple to get to her. It was just getting her out of the vehicle, onto a backboard and up the slope.”

Troopers said the Mississippi crash remains under investigation.

Petal is less than 10 miles northeast of Hattiesburg.

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