LENOIR, N.C. — Tommy Courtner had searched for Amber Pennell with hundreds of others for five days.
They had combed miles of winding roads in Caldwell County where they believed the 21-year-old mother of two had wrecked on her way home. Many worried they would never find her – much less alive.
On Monday night, just before rescuers were ready to give up for the day, Courtner said he was walking along U.S. 321 and was drawn to a swath of moist kudzu behind an 18 foot-embankment.
There he saw tire tracks and followed them to the edge of a 100-foot ravine. Seeing nothing at first, he turned to leave.
Then he spotted the tip of a chrome fender shining from the bottom of the hole.
Feeling a surge of adrenalin, he called for Pennell.
"Amber," he shouted, "can you hear me?"
Moments later, bloodied, drenched from rain and still pinned beneath the pickup's dashboard, Amber turned her head.
Read the full story at CharlotteObserver.com.