Missing Student Survives Week Trapped in Car

Julian McCormick, 18, crawled to safety a week after crashing into a ravine.

Sept. 10, 2007 — -- A weekend vigil to pray for the return of a missing Maryland college freshman turned into a celebration Saturday after the young man miraculously crawled up an embankment from a ravine where he had crashed his car a week earlier.

Julian McCormick, an 18-year-old freshman at Bowie State University in Maryland, was spotted by a passerby Saturday. He was bruised, disoriented and dehydrated, but alive.

"Oh God," his father, James McCormick, said, unable to control his emotions. "Such a burden relieved."

McCormick had left the Bowie State campus around noon Sept. 1. He was on his way to pick up his girlfriend in College Park, Md., when he lost control of his Honda Civic near his home in rural Laurel, Md., and drove off the road into a ravine.

The car tumbled down the embankment, landing upside down in a creek under a bridge. It's heavily traveled stretch of road that his friends and family members passed repeatedly in the last week as the search for the young man intensified.

For the last week, according to authorities, he drifted in and out of consciousness. Police said it took McCormick, trapped upside down, two days to free himself from his seat belt. He had no food and reportedly used a shoe to collect stream water to drink.

Peggy McCormick, his mother, said the student is recuperating and is being hospitalized and tested for possible internal injuries.

"Julian is doing well," she said. "He says, 'I love you Mom, I love you Mom. I was so scared.'"

Leigh Ann Hess, a passerby traveling with her mother, spotted McCormick as he climbed up the side of the embankment.

"I could see there was somebody bleeding on the side of the road and went up to him and he wasn't moving anything but his arms," Hess said on "Good Morning America."

"It looked like he was trying to outstretch his fingers, trying to flag down a car," she said. "He was awake and I said, 'Are you OK?' I said, 'What happened?' He said, 'I was in a car accident.'"

McCormick was able to tell Hess his name and other basic facts, but did not know how long he had been trapped.