Car of Missing Couple Found, Husband Dead

Car of Missing Couple Found, Husband Dead


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SALT LAKE CITY (AP/KSL News) -- A married couple missing since Monday was found in an overturned van in a ravine off a major highway, and the wife was the only survivor.

Deborah Alexander, 56, is in serious condition this morning at University hospital. She has extensive injuries, none of them life threatening, said Brian Hyer, Utah Department of Public Safety spokesman. She is expected to recover.

Her husband Parley Alexander, 58, died from injuries sustained in the crash, Hyer said.

"He was alive for two and a half hours, fortunately she was able to hang in for a day and a half in an upside down car," Sgt. Mike Loveland of the Utah Highway Patrol said.

The Vernal couple was reported missing Monday night after failing to return home from a trip to Provo.

Hyer said a friend of the family searching for the couple found their Saturn van Wednesday overturned in a foot of water just off U.S. 40 near Daniel's Summit, about 20 miles southeast of Heber City.

"There's a curve to the road there and it drops off significantly to the right hand side. The vehicle had gone off the road there and sat 60 feet down. So to see the car you would have to walk along the side of the road," said Sgt. Loveland.

Deborah Alexander was alert and able to speak with rescuers, Hyer said. He said she had recently had surgery and was using a wheelchair and could not get out of the van to seek help.

Deborah Alexander had managed to release her seatbelt, and had eaten only apples that happened to be in the car. She survived two nights in very cold temperatures and wet conditions.

The Alexanders were both wearing seat belts and there were no skid marks on the road, Hyer said. The cause of the crash was unknown and it remains under investigation, he said.

The Highway Patrol think one possibility may have been hydroplaning, because there was rain in the area around the time they were heading home to Vernal.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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