The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

May 8, 2013

Dramatic rescue

Driver tells rescuers he was trapped in truck since Sunday

The News Courier

— By Lora Scripps

and Rebecca Croomes

A late morning discovery Tuesday by K-9 officers with the Limestone County Correctional Facility may have saved a man’s life.

Michael Worthey, 54, of Limestone County had apparently been trapped for two days in his pickup truck under a small access bridge off Love Branch Road just yards from the prison firing range. 

“We had been running dogs,” said Lt. Gary Mealer. “We were coming back from running them and I noticed there was some trash — people throw trash up and down the road all the time. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw the top of the vehicle and said, ‘There’s a car under that bridge.’”

Mealer along with Officer Brian Cowart and an inmate stopped to check the scene and realized the man inside the 1993 Ford Ranger was conscious and talking. They contacted the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office, who alerted dispatch.

Rescue workers from East Limestone Volunteer Fire Department, as well as departments in Harvest, Athens and Madison were called to the scene.

Worthey had to be extracted from the truck, which was wedged sideways under the bridge. Worthey told rescuers he had been trapped in his Ford Ranger since Sunday.

Rescuers suggested the man would have to be cut from the vehicle, and the bridge would possibly have to be removed.

About 15 rescuers worked most of the morning stabilizing the vehicle, cutting off the roof of the pickup and removing the steering column.

East Limestone Fire Chief Joey Boyd said the departments used Jaws of Life and a reciprocating saw, as well as ropes, chains, straps and a “tote basket” to rescue Worthey from the wreckage.

“I don’t know how long he had been in there,” Boyd said, adding he was conscious during the extraction.

Worthey was airlifted to Huntsville Hospital. His condition was unknown at press time.