74-year-old woman headed to casinos spends 2 days trapped under car by I-10 — and lives

MOSS POINT, Mississippi — A Mobile woman spent most of 2 days pinned under her car near Interstate 10 last week, only to be discovered by a highway grounds crew Saturday morning and eventually rescued by the Moss Point Fire Department.

Shirley Ann Smith, 74, was driving westbound on I-10 Thursday evening and stopped near the on ramp at the Miss. 613 exit to stretch her legs, according to authorities. Before she could get out of the vehicle, it came out of gear and rolled down into an adjacent drainage ditch, trapping her left hand under the left-rear tire.

The front of the vehicle was submerged.

Lt. David Morace, the on-scene officer in charge for the fire department, said the Moss Point Police Department initially responded after the grounds crew called 911, and he arrived shortly thereafter, around 9 a.m.

Morace said he was immediately able to speak to Smith, who was “groggy, but coherent.”

He said Smith indicated to him on the scene that she had been on her way to the casinos at the time of the incident.

“She’d been out there Thursday night to Saturday morning, trapped under that car,” he said.

After securing the car with a towline attached to a wrecker, Morace said his department then inflated airbags that had been placed under the rear of the vehicle, which he characterized as a “small van.” Morace held Smith’s sleeve during the operation, and helped pull her free once the tire was lifted off of her hand.

Smith was then transported by ambulance to Singing River Hospital, where she was placed in the Medical Intensive Care Unit. According to hospital administrators, Smith is still listed in serious condition, though she could be moved to a private room as early as Monday night.

“I’ve been on several calls like that, but never anybody that laid out there for two days,” Morace said. “This woman here is a miracle. She is tough.”

Smith’s son, Kenneth Woodward, agreed with Morace, saying his mother’s “not a feeble woman, she’s very alert and very smart.”

“We’re all very happy that she’s still with us, she’s a very strong individual,” Woodward said. “She has a great will to live.”

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