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Updated: Thu, 10 Apr 2014 09:30:18 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Disabled woman crawls 8 hours for help after driving into trench



Colleen Hopkins dragged herself from her truck on her wrists for 800 metres to find help. CBC

Colleen Hopkins dragged herself from her truck on her wrists for 800 metres to find help. CBC

A 47-year-old disabled Nova Scotia woman, who had been reported missing by her husband, crawled 800 metres to get help after spending two nights in her truck after driving into a ditch.

Colleen Hopkins was driving home from her doctor's office in Wolfville, N.S., last Thursday night when she suddenly got a bad headache and became disoriented. She drove off Ridge Road and into a farmer's field.

"I couldn't see very well," Hopkins said. "I just got disoriented and everything, so I ended up lost."

She wound up driving her four-wheel drive truck into a trench filled with water. The water was up to the door of the vehicle.

Hopkins wrapped herself in a blanket she found in the back seat meant for her dog. Without a cellphone to call for help, she stayed in the vehicle for two days honking the horn and flashing the lights trying to catch someone's attention.

She even tried rocking the truck and trying to drive out of the trench with no luck. She stayed inside the truck for 30 hours without food or water. 

Hopkins fell from a horse in 2012 and suffered a brain injury that left her with limited use of her legs. She has a tough time walking on good days. 

By Saturday, rain was falling and the water was rising around her truck. Hopkins decided at first light that she would try to go for help.

"I figured the truck was going to fill up with water or get water in it, so I crawled out," she said.

Dragged herself on wrists

It took Hopkins eight hours to crawl 800 metres to a farmhouse where she hoped to find help. She said she couldn't feel her legs and her hands were numb due to poor circulation, so she dragged herself on her wrists.

She said she would pass out, then come to and keep going. 

"I kept yelling [my husband] Doug's name and it was the thought of him and my dog that kept me going."

At one point she said a helicopter passed overhead and although she waved, those aboard didn't see her.

"I was scared at first and then I got past being scared and just basically got in survival mode," Hopkins said.

When she realized there was nobody home at the farmhouse, she tested the door and found it was unlocked. She crawled inside and called 911.

"I got the operator there to call Doug," said Hopkins.

Police said they had been searching for Hopkins since her husband reported her missing Friday morning.

Saturday afternoon an ambulance took her to hospital where her husband met her. 

"She said, 'I got the the truck stuck' and I said, 'I ain't worried about the truck,'" said her husband.

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