Man found alive 7 days after car accident

May 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A woman is demanding answers after her brother was found in a wooded area seven days after crashing his car. The man is alive, but not well, after a week alone and hurt. Michael Sanchez Jr. was on Highway 101 in San Jose when his car went off the road at Hellyer Avenue. They found the car, but could not find him.

Michael was taken to San Jose Regional Medical Center on Tuesday after he was found alive, but unresponsive. His sister, Pricilla Sanchez, says he was still unresponsive on Wednesday night, which means that no one knows what happened over those seven days he was missing.

"Right now Michael's on life support," said Pricilla.

Pricilla wants to know what happened to her brother. She last spoke to him early last Wednesday morning. Unknown to her, he crashed his truck shortly after that call. He was on Highway 101 south and took the Hellyer exit.

"Vehicle veered across lanes, took that off ramp and then went over on the other side and went down in that depressed area that's very brushy and wooded," said CHP Lt. Les Bishop.

A witness told CHP they saw a man walk away from the scene.

"We utilized fire department's portable lighting system, so we lit up the area and it was about a 45 minute search in that area," said Bishop.

But Michael wasn't found. Thursday, when he didn't show up to a family funeral and wasn't answering his phone, his sister filed a police report.

"It was filed here with police department on the 10th. The following day on the 11th it was sent up to the investigations unit and on Monday morning, the investigators were assigned to the case," said San Jose Police Officer Jose Garcia.

After learning of the crash on Tuesday, San Jose police went back to the site to look for clues.

"He was located just before 6 p.m. in an area that was completely out of view of the roadway or specifically from passing motorists," said Garcia.

Pricilla doesn't understand how her brother wasn't found for almost seven days.

"If they did their search, they should have found my brother's body," said Pricilla. "If I report it, my brother missing on that Thursday, they should have traced that truck. If CHP picked up his truck on the 8th, why didn't they report, 'I found a truck, there's a person missing.' You know, why wasn't I informed?" said Pricilla.

CHP conducted a search and even checked the shoulder off the freeway. They checked Hellyer Park and neighborhoods. They say they ran the registration on the truck and it came back to a Visalia address in the Central Valley, so that was a cold lead.

As for San Jose Police, they say they get several missing person reports every day and they have to triage them. They prioritize them as to who's most at risk, whether it's someone who's suicidal or at risk. So while the sister said she had a bad feeling, police say there was just no solid evidence that he was at risk, so it wasn't put at the top of the priority list.


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