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Man tells rescuers he was trapped in wrecked car for 3 days

By Kevin Maki, KECI Reporter, kmaki@keci.com
Published On: Aug 02 2013 06:35:58 PM MDT
Updated On: Aug 02 2013 09:13:15 PM MDT

A forest fire crew doing recovery work found the man off West Nine Mile Road near Huson.

Montana Highway Patrol said the man failed to negotiate a curve on the rural, forested road.

MISSOULA, Mont. -

A fire crew doing prevention work in the Ninemile discovered a car wreck in a remote area west of Missoula.

Inside the car, was 30-year-old Shaun Lee, who told them he had been trapped for three days.

From West Nine Mile Road, the late model Chevy Impala with South Dakota plates lay exposed on its bottom in a shady ditch.

A Ninemile Ranger District fire crew was on its way to a sawyer project up the road Friday morning. Two of the crew are EMTs.

"Found a 30-year-old male that was stuck in the rig," said Benjamin Hegg.

"I arrived after him with a trauma kit," said Patrick Oakley, "and backboard and stuff."

Lee was conscious and talking.

But the Ninemile forest workers didn't have the right equipment to get him out of his car. They called Frenchtown firefighters and secured the Chevy to a tree with a fire hose.

"When we touched his car it was ready to move," said Hegg, "so that's why we used the fire hose."

It was precarious. Lee was pinned.

"Pinned by the steering wheel lying against the door of the vehicle," said Oakley.

The EMTs talked to and administered first aid to the young man while firefighters arrived with the jaws of life. He told his fire crew rescuers that he was thirsty and in pain.

West Nine Mile is a narrow, twisting gravel road.

"You can get lost up here. You can't see very far. There's a lot of tree cover," said Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer, "You've got to watch your speed."

Lee, who said he spent three days pinned in pain, and dehydrating on a remote mountain road all alone, was taken to St. Patrick Hospital.

Officials confirmed to NBC Montana Friday evening that Lee is a resident of South Carolina, who has relatives in Montana. No word yet on Lee's condition.