Moncks Corner man recovers in MT hospital after 40-foot fall in car

Lee's dog found safe. (Source: ABCFoxMontana)

MISSOULA, Mont. (WCIV) - A 30-year-old Moncks Corner man is recovering in a Missoula, Mont., hospital after spending more than a day trapped upside down in his car after it went off a rural road and down a ravine.

With 36 hours to himself trapped in his car on the rural and remote Ninemile Valley Road, all Shaun Lee could do was hope and pray.

"I could still be in that car. I could have died from exposure, or my body could have shut down from the neck injury," Lee said from his hospital bed at St. Patrick Hospital.

Lee said he had been staying in Missoula to find work.

On Friday, he was on his way to a hotel in nearby Hudson when he took a wrong turn on Ninemile Valley Road, a winding gravel road, lost control of his car and went off the road.

Forty feet down, he landed, upside down.

"Once I went off gravel, it just propelled me faster down off the side of the road," he said. "Next thing you know, I'm upside down."

And 26 hours later, he was found by an official with the U.S. Forestry Service, a man he would like to thank, but he only knows him by the name Benji.

"Right away, I said, 'Sir, are you leaving?' and he said no. And within 20 minutes, he had called dispatch," Lee said.

Now Lee is recovering from a broken neck, a bruised spine as well as a host of other cuts and bruises he got from the wreck and from banging on the glass in his vehicle, screaming for help.

The crash wasn't Lee's first run of bad luck in Missoula.

Earlier in the week, he lost his dog, J. Edgar, near a Walmart. But the story has a happy ending for both man and dog.

J. Edgar was found and is now staying at the Missoula Animal Shelter, patiently awaiting Lee's discharge from the hospital for a happy reunion.

"My dad's going to coordinate with them to get him boarded, you know, and find somewhere to board him when I get out," Lee said.

Through all the bad luck, Lee said he feels thankful just to be alive.

"It's very humbling," he said.

Lee started physical therapy on Monday. His sister is on her way to Missoula to help his through his recovery and find him a place to live.


Ashley Sanchez contributed to this report from Missoula, Mont.