The incident occurred when 54-year-old Donovan accidentally took a wrong turn on a drive back home to Marysville, California. Instead, she soon found herself lost in the isolated wilderness near Camptonville, California, with no cell service to call for help.
When she ran out of gas she resorted to taking shelter in the SUV. To keep from freezing to death, she used extra clothes in the car to stay warm meanwhile sustaining herself off of a single bottle of water. After the tenth day, she walked a mile to a nearby road, flagged down a good Samaritan, and got help.
“She did sparsely drink that, so she took her time on exhausting the one bottle of water that she did have,” her daughter said. “She did eat some snow.”
Donovan’s SUV was found near Camptonville, California, a desolate spot in Sierra County and a long way from her home destination of Marysville.
“It would appear she took a right turn when she probably should have taken a left-hand turn,” Nevada County Sheriff Lt. Robert Bringolf said.
Bringolf said search and rescue teams had been focusing on other routes in their search and were expecting the worst.
“And we’re really, really, really happy that it turned out a different way,” Bringolf said.
Donovan’s car is still stuck in the snow, local authorities plan to retrieve it Tuesday.