Screams From a Storm Drain End Subterranean Odyssey

Associated Press

Screams from under his car made Chris Luckett fear he had run someone over. What he found was a man who said he fell into a storm drain and spent up to four days wandering in darkness.

Charlie Urie, 31, was rescued Wednesday from tunnels 20 feet underground. Urie, treated for cuts and bruises, told his rescuers he had been in the tunnels two to four days. Dehydrated, disoriented and confused, he said he was sitting on the edge of an open manhole trying to cool his feet when he fell.

Urie's rescuers pulled aside a manhole cover and used a rope to hoist him out.

"He kept asking for food . . . milk and Twinkies," said Fire Capt. David Villalovos. Heavy rain often floods the tunnels and rushing water could have swept Urie to a central dumping area in the Salt River, where a pumping station that funnels water through heavy grates probably would have crushed him, Villalovos said.

Luckett said he was backing out of his driveway when Urie's screams caught his attention. He tracked the voice to a narrow runoff drain in the curb across the street and called authorities.

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