Woman Details Being Trapped Inside Wrecked Car for Eight Days


Before Tom could take a deep breath and answer the question, the examiner stood and stretched awkwardly.

"Let's take a break," he suggested. "I am going to let you unwind for a few minutes before we continue. Do you have any particular questions about the equipment?

The only question on Tom's mind was, "Where's my wife?" But Tom didn't ask. Instead, he summoned all of his strength and simply said, "No, I don't have any questions about the equipment or the test."

The search-and-rescue crew reported, "We have found the vehicle about a quarter mile south of the south end of Jones Road." In a moment, they added, "We have movement."

"Copy?" responded the dispatcher.

"We've got movement," they repeated.

The dispatcher then asked the County to send an aid car, saying, "It's that missing female, Tanya Rider, that was on the news. We found her vehicle and she's still moving inside of it! Whew! Wow! Goodness!" The dispatcher continued delivering instructions. "Just tell them to go really fast to the Jones Road off of State Route 169. Whew, got my blood pumping!" she added.

After giving directions for a moment, the dispatcher said, "Oh, my God. This is a car accident!" And, again, the dispatcher adds, "So this is basically, I think, a car accident and she's been trapped for this long! Wow! Where's the supervisor? Melinda? This is basically gonna be a car accident and she's been trapped in the vehicle ever since. Copy. Wow!"

The dispatcher turned to the rescue crew. "And this is just a blue Honda Element?" she asked.

"Yes, ma'am," came the reply. In a moment, the rescue crew added, "She's moving. That's all he told me."

The dispatcher canceled the car response as fire and medical personnel headed to the site and Guardian One, the helicopter, hovered above the scene.

The examiner left the room so Tom looked around to check out his surroundings. The small office was bare, with no windows and empty, white walls. Aside from the examiner's polygraph certification and a few other notices of achievements, the room had no decorations of any kind. The computer sat on an undersized desk and the various wires ran to a square case that opened like a suitcase. The box had several leads for various attachments—heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, and body temperature. Together, Tom thought that all the leads resembled spaghetti. He wondered how they could get an accurate test when the stress alone would make a person sweat? With nothing to do besides look around the boring room, Tom almost dozed off even though he was sitting erect in an uncomfortable chair.

Barely three minutes after the examiner had left, the door swung open. Tom recognized the detective, who had asked him for his computer several days earlier. Flanked by another detective and a uniformed officer, the detective came in, dangling a piece of paper from one hand.

What was going on? Tom wondered. Why is it three against one? Tom noticed that the paper held a map, but he could barely make it out through the fog that was overtaking his mind. Finally, he could see that the area on the map was a stretch of road he'd driven often—probably a hundred times in the past week. Tom was confused. He couldn't think of much that was there, along that stretch of highway, except the river and a stoplight.

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