Dubuque couple trapped in car for 12 hours speaks out - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque couple trapped in car for 12 hours speaks out


DUBUQUE (KWWL)-- It's an almost unbelievable story, a Dubuque couple in their 60s, pinned in their car for nearly 12 hours overnight.

It's been seven months since Ted and Marilyn Blanchard's car lost control on Highway 20 and went into a ditch. They spent 12 hours pinned under the car and lived to tell about it.

For the Blanchard's walking means, every step is a step in the right direction.

"There's been a lot of frustration but never any thought of giving up," Ted said.

In October 2009 the two were involved in a terrible accident. While returning home from a friends house, on a rainy night, their car lost control.

"Unfortunately there was no one coming towards us and no one behind us so no one saw us going into the ditch," Ted said.

"I think my first words were 'what are we gonna do now, how are we gonna get outta of here?'," Marilyn said.

For 12 hours they sat trapped under their car, searching for their cell phone and praying someone would find them.

"We just kept telling each other we've got to stay awake. I remember at the end I thought, my legs hurt so bad. I told him I'm gonna lose my legs and I was almost ready to hang it up and Ted would say 'remember the family and the kids and the grand kids, and then we were found," Marilyn said.

Rushed to the hospital with broken bones, crushed legs and Marilyn's failed kidney, this was only the first step.

"The worst injuries I had were that my legs were crushed and the nerve damage," Ted said.

Each spent more than two months in the hospital; physical therapy, surgery and constant care from their doctors.

On Christmas Eve they both returned home, with an outpouring of support from their neighbors, friends and family, including a meal every night for six weeks and hundreds of cards.

"It just says something about people in Dubuque," Ted said.

And after seven months, they continue to take steps everyday towards a recovery they never thought they'd see.

"It only takes a second or a minute to change your life. And he was always saying we're gonna be better people because of this so that's the way we're gonna look at life now," Marilyn said.

"We're so happy to be alive and it's kind of like getting a second shot at life," said Ted.

The Blanchard's first major trip since the accident was a trip to Cedar Falls Tuesday to see the Dalai Lama. Next week they'll be walking in the Relay for Life. And they hope to someday return to hiking together.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires
Follow Lauren on Twitter.

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