The man trapped on the side of an embankment in Pierce County Thursday thought he might die there, according to his son.
“He was really scared. He didn’t think anyone was going to find him,” said Lee Huffaker.
Charlie Huffaker, 76, had to be pulled up the ravine by rescuers on a litter basket late Thursday afternoon. He backed off the remote road when he was trying to make a U-turn and mistook his gas pedal for the brake.
His SUV rolled down about 30 feet. When he got out and tried to climb up the hill, he fell another 200 feet.
He was not seriously injured, but he could not make it back to the road. Huffaker’s son said his father decided screaming for help was his only option.
That’s when he began to fear for his life, said Huffaker’s son.
“He thought if he had to spend the night,” Lee Huffaker said, “he’d maybe might make it through the night. But if they didn’t find him in the morning, he probably wouldn’t make it.”
About three hours later, two off-duty police officers who happened to be in the area heard Huffaker’s screams for help.
“He’s very lucky to have anybody hear him,” said East Pierce paramedic Jeff Palensky.
Palensky helped organize the rescue effort.
Charlie Huffaker suffered several bruised and broken ribs, but he was expected to make a full recovery, said his son.
His family said Charlie Huffaker is lucky and grateful.
“He wanted to convey to all the rescue guys what a great job they did,” said Lee Huffaker. “He was impressed.”