A woman who lay badly injured for 19 hours after her car plunged down Mount Hamilton in Santa Clara County on Monday was rescued this morning after a police officer unlocked her iPad tablet and used smartphone tracking technology to locate her, authorities said. The woman was lifted out of her overturned car by a line from a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter at about 9:15 a.m. and she was flown to Regional Medical Center of San Jose with major abdominal and leg injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The victim is a Campbell resident in her late 20s who had been lying inside her Chevrolet Cruze compact car since 2 p.m. Monday, but is expected to survive her injuries, CHP spokesman Officer Ross Lee said. Her car was reported found by the Campbell Police Department at 5:30 a.m. today as far as 500 feet down an embankment off the west side of Mt. Hamilton Road, according to Lee. Campbell police Lt. Gary Berg said that around 2 p.m. Monday, the OnStar security system in the woman’s car notified the Police Department that it had been in a rollover accident, but reported the location as at Camden Avenue and state Highway 17 in San Jose, Berg said.
Campbell police searched streets in the area, the CHP looked on nearby highways for two hours and the woman’s car horn was activated through OnStar but they could not find it, according to Berg. At about 4 p.m. Monday, the system reported that the car was in downtown San Jose possibly near Fourth Street and San Jose police were notified but the car could not be found, Berg said. At about 3 a.m. today, the woman’s family called Campbell police to report her missing, saying that it was out of character for her not to be home, police said.
A Campbell police officer responded to the family’s residence, asked them about her cellphone, which was an iPhone, then took the woman’s iPad tablet and began trying a number of potential passwords, such as her birthday and address, Berg said. The officer finally succeeded in choosing her password, accessed the iPad and went to the “Find my iPhone” application for tracking iPhones and pinpointed the location of her phone and car, Berg said. Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputies were then sent to the car’s location and worked on getting the woman out of her overturned car and the CHP took over the investigation into the crash, Berg said. “We feel pretty fortunate our officer was able to get into that iPad,” Berg said. After the woman’s car left the road and went down the steep hill, it turned over and came to rest on its roof, Lee said. The CHP has not yet determined the cause of the crash, he said.
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