James McCormick drove by a ravine near his Laurel home many times in the week since his 18-year-old son disappeared, oblivious to the fact that he lay trapped below.
On Saturday, the son, Julian McCormick, stopped waiting for someone to find him in his upside down Honda Civic. Injured and dehydrated, he somehow managed to climb out of the car and up to the side of the road.
A woman riding in a car on Powder Mill Road in Beltsville spotted Julian McCormick lying there. He was able to tell her his name and other facts but didn’t know how long he had been there, said the woman, Leigh Ann Hess.
“The prayers that everyone sent up — the prayers are truly answered,” said James McCormick after being reunited with his son at the scene.
“He’s scraped and bruised, but he’s awake and coherent,” he said.
His son was unable to move and was taken by helicopter to a hospital for evaluation, James McCormick said. He also said paramedics were worried about internal injuries. “They said it’s a miracle he’s still alive,” he said.
Julian was in fair condition last night at Washington Hospital Center.
The family filed a missing-person report after Julian McCormick disappeared a week ago. The Bowie State University student left campus the morning of Sept. 1 to pick up his girlfriend in College Park, but he never showed up.
Though the section of Powder Mill Road where Julian McCormick crashed is not far from the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, it is a very rural area with farms and fields, said Sgt. Robert Lachance of the U.S. Park Police, which has jurisdiction over the area.
The Park Police said the car was found in a creek below a bridge. The crash is under investigation.
James McCormick said the road goes right by his house, though his son was taking it to get to Route 1 on his way to College Park.
He thinks his son was stuck in the car the whole week and climbed out Saturday.
Mrs. Hess said her mother was driving her and her two children from her mother’s house in Beltsville to their home in Bowie at about 5 p.m. Three months pregnant, she wasn’t feeling very well and was staring out the window when she spotted someone lying by the road. He looked like he was bleeding heavily from his head, she said.
Her mother pulled over and dialed 911, while Mrs. Hess ran up to the injured man.
“He wasn’t moving, but he was kind of reaching out with his fingers, like he was trying to flag down a car,” she said.
As she stood talking to him, more cars pulled over and a crowd gathered. He told her his name, his age and that he goes to Bowie State. But when she asked how long he’d been there, he said, “At least since this morning.”
Said Mrs. Hess: “This kid has such a will to live. It just floors me.”