AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – An Alabama woman who survived being trapped inside her overturned crashed vehicle for at least 12 hours is searching for the bearded stranger who kickstarted her incredible rescue.
Kimberly Stephens broke nearly every major bone in her body in the September 22nd crash along Farmville Road in Auburn, Alabama. Stephens, who is a paramedic with 20 years of experience, was rescued a day later on September 23rd after being trapped in the overturned vehicle between 12 and 24 hours.
“I have so much to be thankful for, so much to be thankful for,” shared Stephens from her UAB Hospital room in Birmingham.
Stephens is on a mission to recover from catastrophic injuries she suffered nearly two weeks ago in the rollover crash and hug the stranger who saved her life.
“I remember running off the road and over correcting and hitting a stump, then going in and out of it,” said Stephens.
Sometime on Saturday afternoon, Stephens crashed, overturned, and hit a tree in the woods along Farmville Road in Auburn.
“I had my seatbelt on, and I remember undoing it and falling, but I was hung by my foot. I tried to beat it with my other foot, that’s when I realized it was broken. I had no way of getting out of that car,” said Stephens.
The woods made it nearly impossible to see the crash from the road. Stephens was trapped overnight and spent at least 12 to 24 hours in the wreckage before she says God sent her a miracle, in the form of a bearded man who kickstarted her rescue late Sunday morning.
“I remember, at some point in time, I gave up. There was nothing, no sound, no lights, just darkness, and all of a sudden, and I heard somebody talking. I said help,” and he said, I think I hear somebody. Next thing I know, a man is standing next to me with a long beard and long hair and overalls. He’s a white guy. I didn’t know where he came from. I remember him saying I called 911 for you. I never saw him again. I can tell you I would not be alive today if it weren’t for him,” said Stephens.
It took Farmville Volunteer Fire and Auburn Fire more than an hour to cut the vehicle away. Stephens says she does not remember the pain from her injuries. She was passing in and out of consciousness during her entrapment and rescue.
“One of the guys from Auburn fire and I go to church together. I have known him since he was a kid. When I heard his voice, I knew I was gonna be okay,” said Stephens.
As a first responder herself, Stephens says there aren’t enough words to describe how thankful she is to all the men and women who came to her rescue that day.
Lee County Sheriff’s Deputies and Auburn Police directed traffic while a Life Saver Helicopter and EMS were on standby. When Stephens was freed from the vehicle, she was flown to UAB in Birmingham. She spent several days in ICU and was moved to a regular room after numerous surgeries.
“Both legs are broken. My arm is broken. I have had surgery to repair all this stuff, so I am on the mend. My pelvis was broken. My back was broken, and my spleen ruptured. My ribs broke along with my eye socket and my nose. This arm is broke, but this is the good arm. The people here at UAB have been awesome,” said Stephens.
Stephens hopes to be released from UAB in Birmingham soon. She hopes to heal her broken bones, begin rehab, and begin to walk again. Stephans also hopes to resume her career as a paramedic, now with a greater understanding of what it means to be the person in need of emergency care.
As for the bearded man, Stephens hopes someone who knows him will see this story and arrange for them to meet one day.
“I do want to find him and give him a hug because if it weren’t for him, I would not be here,” Stephens shared.