A Lincoln County teenager who was found alive three days after a crash in north Alabama spoke Thursday with Channel 4 News.
Tyler Campbell, 19, fell asleep behind the wheel Saturday and survived a terrifying plunge into a deep ravine along Interstate 65 just across the state line.
"All I remember is hitting the sign, and I blacked out after that. I woke up, and my leg was dangling outside the truck, and the truck was rolled over on its side," Campbell said.
For the next three days, the teen relied on rainwater and faith as a broken leg and shoulder only complicated his slow climb to safety.
"It was nasty, but better than dying," Campbell said. "Just a big sigh of relief."
He is still bruised and bandaged, but Campbell is alive and, now, back home.
"Been down there for three days. Hadn't seen nobody. I was lonely. Hungry. Thirsty," Campbell said.
But what happened next had rescuers crediting a higher power.
"That was, no doubt, the most amazing thing I've ever seen," said firefighter Justin Fields.
Somehow, Campbell eventually crawled to the surface of the road by Tuesday. A passing driver then spotted him under a guardrail and called 911.
Fields was first to arrive and instantly recognized the missing man.
"I knew who he was, but I didn't know how he got there," Fields said. "What went through my mind was somebody had kidnapped him and threw him out on the interstate, because you could not see the vehicle until he told me his truck was down there."
Rescuers said while in the middle of the fight of his life, the young man was certain he wasn't alone.
"You can tell he's true to his faith. He believes in God. God was with him," said firefighter Tim Toone.
On Thursday, Campbell said the same.
"Through God's power and mercy, I made it up. I know that," he said.
Campbell under went surgery Wednesday for his broken leg at Huntsville Hospital. The outlook points to a full recovery, a lesson learned and a story for life.
Incidentally, firefighters responded to a separate accident Saturday that was nearby. In fact, Campbell said a medical helicopter shined its light just two feet from his truck but didn't see him.
Copyright 2012 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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