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Ridgecrest man crashes in Tehachapi Mountains, survives for five days without food or water

Driver trapped in Tehachapi Mountains survives for 5 days without food, water
Driver trapped in Tehachapi Mountains survives for 5 days without food, water 03:02

Without food or water and with several broken bones, a Ridgecrest man survived for five days in the Tehachapi Mountains after crashing off the side of an isolated canyon road.

Calvin Smith, 68, said he was driving on Comanche Road after dropping off his son at a doctor's appointment in Bakersfield when he realized his GPS was taking him the wrong way. 

He tried to turn around on the narrow hillside lane but did not have enough room. His truck rolled 100 feet down an embankment and crashed into a ravine. 

"I got ejected, knocked out," he said. "I think I was about 30 or 40 feet from my car."

Still bed-ridden in a hospital, the crash down into the ravine broke his collarbone, tailbone, three ribs and fractured two of his vertebrae. 

Too hurt to move and without a phone, Smith stayed put waiting for someone to rescue him. 

"Hoping, praying scared to death," said Smith, recalling his state of mind. "Animals coming real close to me but they didn't bother me."

He recalled a bear wandering by him before the search and rescue team arrived. Corey, the first person he saw after five agonizing days of pain, gave him water and stayed by his side until the rest of the squad arrived. 

"Let him know how appreciative I am of him," said Smith. "That man saved my life."

Smith's wife, Dee Dee shared the same sentiment saying that the Kern County Fire Department called her when they found her beloved husband. She said that the search and rescue crew let her talk to her husband when they found him. 

"A man made something to hoist him up," said Dee Dee. "Then they had to get him in the ambulance to take him three miles to the helicopter and bring him here. It was a great rescue."

Smith is waiting to learn what surgery he has to undergo to heal his body. 

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