Woman trapped in car for a week says she called 911
A seattle woman who survived more than a week after being trapped upside down in her crumpled sport-utility vehicle told her husband this...
Seattle Times staff reporter
A Seattle woman who survived more than a week after being trapped upside down in her crumpled sport-utility vehicle told her husband this morning that she called 911 during her ordeal.
But the King County Sheriff's Office said there is no record of Tanya Rider calling for help.
"She may have pressed 911, but it may have been after her phone died," said Tanya Rider's husband, Tom Rider.
On Sept. 20, Tanya Rider, 33, apparently drove about 20 feet down a steep ravine overgrown with blackberry bushes and heavy brush after finishing her overnight shift at a Bellevue Fred Meyer store. Using cellphone technology, King County sheriff's deputies found her Thursday in the ravine off Highway 169 near Renton.
Tom Rider said that his wife is angry with him for not rescuing her.
"She seems to blame me for not finding her fast enough," he said. "She remembers being trapped, clawing at the seat belt and not being able to get it off. That's tearing me up inside. I was hoping she wouldn't remember anything."
The Maple Valley woman was taken to the hospital in critical condition suffering from kidney failure, dehydration, a badly injured left leg, a broken collarbone and a deep gash on her forehead. She was upgraded to serious condition on Sunday.
Tom Rider said that surgeons at Harborview Medical Center will tend to his wife's leg today.
Since his wife has been located, Tom Rider has demanded that the sheriff's office be held accountable for not taking the case more seriously.
Tom Rider, 39, said he drove Highway 169, his wife's normal route home from work, more than seven times but never spotted her Honda Element. He said he begged the sheriff's office to search for her but was told that because she wasn't a minor, elderly or mentally ill, she didn't qualify to be ruled a missing person.
Rahr said on Friday that the case was quickly assigned to a missing-persons detective who talked to Tom Rider a day after he called 911.
Rahr said her department receives up to 700 missing-persons cases each year and that the vast majority involve someone who just failed to come home on time or "an adult who wants to leave on their own accord."
"We get hundreds, hundreds and hundreds of missing-persons reports each year," Rahr said on Friday. "When you get a healthy adult woman who has access to a great deal of money and the ability to get away, that's not going to raise a red flag."
Tom Rider said that Rahr has been receptive to meeting with him to talk about the way the search was handled. He is also demanding to meet with Gov. Christine Gregoire.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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