Resilient grandmother released from hospital

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The 83-year-old woman who survived three days suspended in her car in the trees of a bug-infested swamp was released from a hospital Saturday.

Tillie Tooter was treated for dehydration and insect bites at Broward Medical Center.

She suffered no broken bones even though her Toyota Tercel had plunged 40 feet off an Interstate 595 bridge and into a mangrove swamp on Aug. 12. She was rescued Tuesday after a teen-ager collecting trash spotted her car suspended in the trees.

Tooter had been headed to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport to pick up a granddaughter when another car struck her from behind. No arrests had been made in the hit-and-run case, but investigators were looking at the driver of a car found wrecked just east of the bridge.

Tooter's car vaulted a 3-foot concrete barrier along the side of the bridge, skidded along the top and then fell into the trees.

Tooter used a steering wheel cover to capture rain water, sopping it up with a pair of socks and then squeezing it into her mouth. Doctors said that saved her life in the 100-degree heat.

She also sucked on two cough drops, a piece of hard candy, a button and chewed her only stick of gum to keep her mouth moist.

She suffered hundreds of insect bites during her three days in the car, which was suspended just inches above the swamp's snake- and alligator-infested water.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment