Richard Jones, 69, talks to reporters in his Sequim-area home Monday after being rescued from his car earlier that morning. He was trapped in his car for five days. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Richard Jones, 69, talks to reporters in his Sequim-area home Monday after being rescued from his car earlier that morning. He was trapped in his car for five days. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

“I suffered the whole time”: Sequim man, found safe, tells story of surviving in car for five days

SEQUIM — He thought he was as good as dead.

Richard Jones, 69, of Sunland near Sequim was trapped in his car for five days before he was found Monday off Sequim-Dungeness Way near his home.

Wednesday night, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning.

“I suffered the whole time,” he said Monday in an interview at his home.

From his car he could see traffic whizzing by, but it took five days before anyone noticed him. The area was brushy and the red Toyota was not readily visible from the roadway.

Jones isn’t a particularly religious man, he said, but when Nick Hoffman, 40, found him, to Jones, it sounded like the voice of God.

“If there was a God, I felt God was yelling at me ‘is somebody in there, are you alive,’ ” he said, his hands shaking. “That would have been God, that’s how good it felt to see that person finally show up in what I thought was going to be my final resting spot.”

Hoffman, credited with saving Jones’ life, was walking his dog along Sequim-Dungeness Way when he spotted the car and called 9-1-1.

When deputies arrived, they found Jones in his car alive. He had been missing for five days after he left home Wednesday night to get his wife a bottle of wine, said Sgt. Randy Pieper.

Jones’ wife had reported him missing after he failed to return Wednesday.

Pieper said he has seen other cases where missing people were found in their cars after several days, but not once has he seen anyone survive that long.

“There’s nothing this long that I can recall,” he said.

When deputies found him, he was uninjured and talkative though dehydrated and hypothermic.

Jones’ trip should have only taken him about 15 minutes, Jones said.

He rushed out the door and forgot his driving glasses, which didn’t help.

When he was driving home from the store, “a car came over the hill with its brights on and blinded me,” Jones said. “I swerved — because I actually was in his lane — and over-corrected and went off the road over the embankment.”

His car came to a rest against a tree, with trees blocking both doors from opening.

He could tell he was uninjured. He wasn’t bleeding and had no broken bones.

But there was no way out and he was trapped. He had no cellphone.

“I could feel that I was fine as far as my body,” he said. “The only thing that was hurt was my pride.”

He knew he was spending the night in his car, he said, but he didn’t expect to be trapped alone for five days.

In an attempted to catch someone’s attention, he turned his brights on, had his hazard lights flashing and yelled for help.

No one heard or saw him.

Within two hours his battery died and he couldn’t start his car, which would have been his only source of heat.

“If somebody would have stopped I could have ended it right that night,” he said. “All it did was burn up my battery.”

He had just recently cleaned out his car and had nothing that would help him survive, he said. There was no water, food or any blankets.

For five days he had nothing.

Jones did what he had to to stay as hydrated as he possibly could: he drank his own urine.

“I will tell you truthfully, I then drank every bit of the urine,” he said.

At 6 feet tall, Jones found it difficult to get comfortable in his small Toyota Celica. Occasionally he could sleep for a bit, but he was miserable.

At one point he stood as high as he could out of the driver-side window. He couldn’t get out, but he got high enough to see everyone drive past him.

It felt horrible, he said, to know he could see them but no one noticed him.

“I could see the cars,” he said. “If I had better eye sight I could see their faces, but they were going fast.

“If somebody had just happened to be looking at the scenery … they would have seen me.”

When he first-responders extricated him from his vehicle, Jones was transported to Olympic Medical Center to double-check that he was uninjured, he said.

Not long after, he was released and sent home to his wife.

After five days stuck in his car, doctors told Jones he just needed to relax and drink plenty of water.

________

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

A Clallam County Sheriff’s Office cruiser sits along Sequim-Dungeness Way above a Toyota Celica found along the roadway Monday morning. A man walking a dog found the Toyota and called 9-1-1, leading to the rescue of a Sequim resident trapped inside. (Brandon Stoppani/Clallam County Sheriff’s Office)

A Clallam County Sheriff’s Office cruiser sits along Sequim-Dungeness Way above a Toyota Celica found along the roadway Monday morning. A man walking a dog found the Toyota and called 9-1-1, leading to the rescue of a Sequim resident trapped inside. (Brandon Stoppani/Clallam County Sheriff’s Office)

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