A Morristown woman was recovering at Barnesville Hospital on Tuesday after being trapped in her partially submerged vehicle overnight on Friday, Feb. 5.
Margaret Wiseman, 82, lost her way driving Westbound on Route 40 when she got stuck in a pond around 10 p.m.
Wiseman, who returned from her job at Sears in the Ohio Valley Mall to find no electricity at her house, said she was headed back to St. Clairsville at 9 p.m. Friday with the intention of spending the night at a motel there or staying with her daughter in Wheeling.
Unfortunately, Wiseman missed her exit for I-70 and was attempting to turn around, when her car became caught in snow drift. She did not realize her van was so close to the edge of the road until she tapped her breaks, sending her van over an embankment into a pond on Lady Bend Hill.
Wiseman, who still did not know where she was, left the motor running for a little while before deciding to turn it off and open the driver's side door and see how deep the water was.
"It was really scary," she said. "I don't like water to start with."
Wiseman said she closed the door and water began coming in the front of the van, so she climbed to the back to attempt opening the hatch from the inside. She could not open it from inside and with the car not running, could not roll down a window.
Wiseman could hear vehicles passing on I-70 above her and on Route 40, but knew they couldn't see her over the embankment. Snow began to cover her van and her tracks.
With all other options failing her, Wiseman grabbed an afghan from the van and curled up in the middle seat, dozing on and off through the night.
In the meantime, her frantic family and friends, realizing she did not report for work at 9 a.m., searched the roads for her. Wiseman said her granddaughter even checked Route 40, but not as far down as she was because it wasn't part of Wiseman's usually route.
It wasn't until 1:13 p.m. that a driver passing overhead on I-70 spotted her van in the water and called 9-1-1.
The Morristown fire department responded and found Wiseman in the back of her van.
"It was a great relief to them and me," she said.
Morristown fire chief Doug Harris said Wiseman had a smile on her face, waved to them and said she was doing okay. Harris said Wiseman's was not the first accident by the pond. He said a few accidents have occurred here within the last five or six years and some have been serious.
Wiseman was taken by the Bethesda squad to Barnesville Hospital, where she remained Monday for further testing.
Wiseman said the experience was "one I hope no one else has to have." She said she will never again attempt to drive in bad weather. "It is not worth the risk," she said.
She was expecting to be released from the hospital on Tuesday, but said if she had to remain there due to more bad weather, she wouldn't mind.
A former nurse, Wiseman said she is not fond of hospitals but found the staff at Barnesville to be wonderful.
"They run a nice hospital," she said.