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Officer Uses iPad To Find Woman Trapped Inside Car Overnight In San Jose Ravine

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A woman who lay badly injured for 19 hours after her car plunged down Mount Hamilton in Santa Clara County on Monday was rescued Tuesday morning after a police officer unlocked her iPad tablet and used smartphone tracking technology to locate her.

Rescue Underway: Woman Trapped Inside Car Overnight In San Jose Ravine

The victim is a Campbell resident in her late 20s who had been lying inside her Chevrolet Cruze compact car since 2 p.m. Monday. After crews from the San Jose Fire Department, Cal Fire and the U.S.Coast Guard responded, they were able to airlift the injured driver in a Coast helicopter to Regional Medical Center of San Jose.

"So right now, we're calling it moderately critical injuries to the lower extremities and abdomen and obviously she's been down there since 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon so probably in quite a bit of shock as well," Capt. Brad McGibbon, from the San Jose Fire Department, told KCBS.

Fire crews, meanwhile, were able to clear path 500 feet down the steep hillside to make their way to the victim but the helicopter, after refueling, was able to return and airlift her in a stretcher.

Campbell police Lt. Gary Berg said that around 2 p.m. Monday, the OnStar security system in the woman's car notified the Police Department that it had been in a rollover accident, but reported the location as at Camden Avenue and state Highway 17 in San Jose, Berg said.

Police searched streets in the area, the CHP looked on nearby highways for two hours and the woman's car horn was activated through OnStar but they could not find it, according to Berg.

At about 4 p.m. Monday, the system reported that the car was in downtown San Jose possibly near Fourth Street and San Jose police were notified but the car could not be found, Berg said.

The woman's family called Campbell police at 3 a.m. Tuesday to report her missing, saying that it was out of character for her not to be home, police said.

A Campbell police officer responded to the family's residence, asked them about her cellphone, which was an iPhone, then took the woman's iPad tablet and began trying a number of potential passwords, such as her birthday and address, Berg said.

The officer finally succeeded in choosing her password, accessed the iPad and went to the "Find my iPhone" application for tracking iPhones and pinpointed the location of her phone and car, Berg said.

Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies were then sent to the car's location and worked on getting the woman out of her overturned car and the CHP took over the investigation into the crash, Berg said.

"We feel pretty fortunate our officer was able to get into that iPad," Berg said.

After the woman's car left the road and went down the steep hill, it turned over and came to rest on its roof, Lee said.

The CHP has not yet determined the cause of the crash, he said.

The San Jose Fire Department and Cal Fire were unable to remove the car from the ravine and at about 7:40 a.m. a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter lowered a medic to the vehicle to rescue the woman but had to leave in order to refuel.

It still wasn't known, however, how or why the woman drove her car off road.

A spokesman for General Motors, the maker of OnStar, said the company would withhold interview requests until it uncovers more information about the incident. In a statement, Stefan Cross said, "We are saddened by this incident involving one of our subscribers.  Our subscribers' safety and security is OnStar's utmost concern.  We are currently conducting a complete investigation, including information we have received from our call centers, our cellular network provider,  our engineering team and the local authorities to better understand what occurred."

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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