Julian Carlos McCormick was found after being reported missing last week. (Photo courtesy of Prince
George's County Police)
By SARAH KARUSH Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - A teenager who was trapped for eight days in a wrecked car is recounting his tale of survival.
Julian McCormick's parents say their 18-year-old son still doesn't remember how he crashed his car into a ravine on Sept
Their son told his parents he ate fish from a nearby creek and drank water out of his shoe. He was able to cut himself
out of his seat belt with a small pocket knife and dragged himself up the embankment using only his arms.
McCormick is hospitalized at Washington Hospital Center. His parents say he has injuries consistent with someone who's
been trapped in a car and exposed to the elements for a week without food or water.
He is expected to make a full recovery, but his parents aren't sure how long he'll be in the hospital.
On Saturday, McCormick stopped waiting for someone to find him in his upside down Honda Civic in a ravine. Injured and
dehydrated, he somehow managed to climb out of the car and up to the side of the road.
A woman riding in a car on Powder Mill Road in Beltsville spotted McCormick lying there. He was able to tell her name and
other facts, but didn't know how long he had been there, said the woman, Leigh Ann Hess.
"The prayers that everyone sent up _ the prayers are truly answered," James McCormick told The Associated Press after being
reunited with his son at the scene.
"They said it's a miracle he's still alive," he added.
The family filed a missing person report after Julian disappeared a week ago. The Bowie State University student left campus
after band practice the morning of Sept. 1 to pick up his girlfriend in College Park, but he never showed up.
Although it's not far from the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, the section of Powder Mill Road where McCormick crashed is
a very rural area with farms and fields, said Sgt. Robert Lachance of the U.S. Park Police, which has jurisdiction over the
The Park Police said the car was found in a creek below a bridge. The crash is under investigation.
James McCormick said the road goes right by his house, though Julian was taking it to get to Route 1 on his way to College
McCormick said he believes his son was stuck in the car the whole week and only climbed out Saturday.
Hess said her mother was driving her and her two children from her mother's house in Beltsville to their home in Bowie
at about 5 p.m. Three months pregnant, she wasn't feeling very well and was staring out the window when she spotted McCormick
lying by the road. He looked like he was bleeding heavily from his head, she said.
Her mother pulled over and dialed 911, while Hess ran up to McCormick.
"He wasn't moving but he was kind of reaching out with his fingers, like he was trying to flag down a car," she said.
As she stood talking to him, more cars pulled over and a crowd gathered. He told her his name, his age and that he goes
to Bowie State. But when she asked how long he'd been there, he said, "At least since this morning."
"This kid has such a will to live," Hess said. "It just floors me."