Henry ‘Hank’ Morello was driving home from a restaurant last Monday when he made a wrong turn off the highway and got his car stuck in a ditch.
Mr Morello, who has dementia and diabetes, had a mobile phone with him but it had no reception and its battery later ran out of charge, as did the battery in his car.
He tried to walk to find help but returned to his car when he could not find anyone. He pulled off a chrome panel from his car and placed it on the roof, hoping that the reflection would attract attention.
Mr Morello used a rock to break the top of the windscreen washer bottle and drank water from it. At night he huddled up, using the vehicle’s floor mats as protection from the near-freezing weather. He also sparingly ate leftover pasta that he doggy-bagged from the restaurant.
To pass the time, Mr Morello said he read the vehicle’s manual from cover to cover and prayed to St Anthony, the Roman Catholic patron saint of lost things and missing persons.
He was eventually found on Saturday by a group of hikers who alerted the search and rescue team and had him taken to Phoenix hospital.
Doctors said Mr Morello suffered kidney damage, dehydration and exposure, but was otherwise in good condition.