Curious passerby saves woman's life


Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojounalist - Mason Watkins

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, IL.---A woman exposed to the elements for 48 hours.  Deputies say she would likely be dead, if not for a curious passerby.
68-year-old Billie Earl of Herrin, Illinois disappeared Monday afternoon. The Herrin Police Department say state police combed the area with a plane, but it was a curious neighbor who found her.
She was stuck just 90 feet or so away from the well traveled Crenshaw Road.  She was down an embankment, on the ground and unable to move.
Her husband told Local 6 she'll be in the hospital for a while but she is expected to survive.
She'll likely need knee surgery and has a long recovery ahead of her, but tonight she's just thankful to be alive.
Alan Geary travels Crenshaw Road every day.  When he saw skidmarks he knew something wasn't right.  So he parked his truck and trampled through the brush to check things out.

"Figuring I was gonna find a car stolen that they run off in here," Geary said.

Instead, he stumbled upon an SUV and it's driver, 68-year-old Billie Earl.

"I seen her, and told sheriff's department I needed an ambulance and people out here quick," Geary said.

Geary couldn't get to her and she couldn't get to him.  Geary said she was barely able to cry for help. 

Turns out Earl ran off of Crenshaw Road Monday afternoon, she ran through the brush and crashed into this embankment, only a few feet away from a former strip mine, with water some 50 feet deep.

She managed to crawl out of her S.U.V. but a bad knee and hip stopped her from making it any further.  So she laid there for 48 hours.

"Just amazed me after two nights out there she made it," Geary said.

The ice made it nearly unbearable, but Earl told Geary the ice also kept her alive.  She ate it to stay hydrated.

First responders rescued Earl but detectives say it was Geary who saved her life.  But he's not taking any credit.  After all, heroes never do.