Thursday, January 18, 2018
Bizarre News

Trinity man, 90, trapped in car for days with broken hip

TRINITY — Tim Weidman was walking by the white stucco house when he noticed a withered hand waving from the car in the garage. He walked up the driveway. A muffled voice followed:

"I can't get out of my car," said 90-year-old Justyn "Jay" Ambrozia, slumped in his driver's seat so that only the wisps of his silver hair could be seen over the dashboard. "Can you help me?"

Weidman called 911. An ambulance arrived Thursday afternoon, and neighbors followed the commotion into the garage. Someone gave Ambrozia a glass of water.

Inside the car, neighbors found Fig Newtons and a half-empty sleeve of ice cream cones in the passenger seat, a nibbled-on pound cake on the floorboard. Later, they would learn these had been Ambrozia's only sustenance for days.

Paramedics gingerly pulled him from his june bug-green Chevrolet Beretta. He lay crumpled on the gurney because his broken bones kept him from stretching his legs, his ankles swollen from lack of circulation and lips chapped from dehydration. The ambulance took him to the Medical Center of Trinity.

From his hospital bed on Tuesday, barely strong enough to talk, Ambrozia told his story.

He said he left his home on Mitchell Ranch Road at 10:30 a.m. April 30, a Tuesday, headed for a nearby Publix. He was walking around a corner in the store when he fell. He doesn't know how it happened. In desperation, he grabbed a shelf, which gave way. His left side hit the ground first, breaking his wrist and hip.

Employees saw him and came to help and took down his information, he said. They loaded him into a wheelchair, he said, and helped him into his car in the parking lot.

The shooting pain in his leg started when he was halfway home. He doesn't know how he managed to back his car into the driveway. By the time he did, his wrist was swollen and so tender he couldn't pull the car's door handle. He was trapped.

Ambrozia said his car battery died as soon as he got into the garage, so honking the horn for help wasn't an option. He used his remote to lift and close the garage door in the hopes of flagging someone down, but to no avail.

So he left the garage door open and stared out the windshield from his front-row seat to a world that was oblivious to him.

Cars passed, then days. A postal worker passed by without hearing his cries. The sun turned the garage into a sauna. He ate his groceries — the ice cream cones, Fig Newtons and pound cake — but there was no water.

"Jeez, it's been three days," he remembers thinking. "I hope I don't die in this car."

On Thursday afternoon, he made his last cry for help as Weidman passed on the sidewalk.

• • •

Reached via email, Publix spokesman Brian West said he doesn't know the exact day Ambrozia fell in the store at 3100 Little Road in Trinity. He said Publix is investigating the incident and contacted Ambrozia.

"We wish our customer a speedy recovery," West wrote.

• • •

Neighbors know Ambrozia, a retiree from a VA facility in Scranton, Pa., as a funny, active, caring man.

John Collins, 62, who lives next door, said he usually sees his 90-year-old neighbor outside doing yard work in a pair of shorts.

Recently, Collins said, his significant other had been mowing Ambrozia's back yard, but he insisted on mowing the front.

"He's so damn strong spirited," Collins said.

Tuesday afternoon in the hospital saw a weaker man. Ambrozia slept in a cool, dark room with tubes coming from his arms and his wrist covered with an elastic-bandage cast. His elbow was purple and swollen to the size of a softball. He talked softly. On his right wrist was a yellow bracelet that read "Fall Risk." He's had at least one hip surgery since Thursday.

Ambrozia was born in 1922. He said he was drafted into the Army after the Pearl Harbor attacks and sent to the European theater as a buck sergeant in the 30th Division of the 119th Infantry. The last time he remembers being stranded was when he and his troops got lost in Paris for six hours during the war. He said he was demoted one stripe.

The experience prepared him for what happened last week, perhaps in his cavalier attitude toward the incident.

"I can't complain," he said. "When something like this happens, it happens."

Contact Alex Orlando at [email protected] or (727) 869-6247.

Comments
Thanks Twitter: Fakesters pose as jackpot winner Shane Missler

Thanks Twitter: Fakesters pose as jackpot winner Shane Missler

Jackpot winner and Florida man Shane Missler wants to leave behind a legacy with his winnings.But he won’t be doing that by doling out cash to Twitter followers.PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Florida man, 20, claims $450M Mega Millions jackpotAn account cunningl...
Published: 01/16/18

Florida man robbed at gunpoint in dating app setup

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Florida police say a man thought he was going on a date set through an app, but instead was attacked and robbed at gunpoint.Police say a 21-year-old Taborice Lee Foster lured his target using Grindr, a dating app for gay men. When...
Published: 01/14/18
Tide Pod Challenge: Why teens and internet celebs risk their lives by eating them

Tide Pod Challenge: Why teens and internet celebs risk their lives by eating them

A new internet trend has parents worrying more about their teenagers ingesting laundry soap than their unknowing toddlers. It started as a joke: memes circulating on the web, poking fun at the fact that the squishy, brightly colored laundry pods loo...
Published: 01/12/18

Bathroom behavior got this Florida man kicked off his flight

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Frequent flyer tip: if you’re going to use the airplane bathroom make sure your aim is good. Otherwise it could get you kicked off the flight.Flight attendants say Dante Bencivenga used the bathroom on a Spirit airlines flight befo...
Published: 01/07/18
Florida man calls 911 to report...himself drunk driving

Florida man calls 911 to report...himself drunk driving

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) — Authorities in Florida are sharing an unusual 911 call they got on New Year’s Eve from a man who said he was driving drunk and needed police. Polk County Sheriff’s officials say the dispatcher "did a fantastic job" urging Mi...
Published: 01/06/18
A small bird managed to take over a Delta flight

A small bird managed to take over a Delta flight

On late Saturday morning, a bird flew out of the cold Detroit sky, across an airfield and into the cockpit of a jetliner bound south for Atlanta.Some believe it was a sparrow. Some, a hummingbird. A Delta Air Lines spokesman referred to it only as "s...
Updated one month ago
Woman gets $284 billion electric bill, wonders whether it’s her Christmas lights

Woman gets $284 billion electric bill, wonders whether it’s her Christmas lights

What can you buy with $284 billion?You could own all of Netflix. Or purchase 747 Boeing 747s, with change to spare. Or erase the national debts of Venezuela, Nigeria, Peru and Iceland, combined.Or, if you’re Mary Horomanski, you could pay for one mon...
Updated one month ago
Package for Steven Mnuchin that causes a bomb scare turns out to be filled with horse manure

Package for Steven Mnuchin that causes a bomb scare turns out to be filled with horse manure

A suspicious package that appeared Saturday night in the swanky Los Angeles neighborhood of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin prompted lengthy street closures and a sizable response by local and federal authorities, including members of the Los Angel...
Updated one month ago

Florida man fighting for his life after chasing monkey

DESTIN, Fla. — A Florida man now living in Bali is fighting for his life after he fell from a roof while chasing a monkey that had stolen his favorite Pittsburgh Steelers cap.The Northwest Florida Daily News reported that Jeff "Swede" Swedenhjelm fel...
Updated one month ago
Florida man arrested for calling 911 to complain about small restaurant portions

Florida man arrested for calling 911 to complain about small restaurant portions

STUART, Fla. — A Florida man complaining about his dinner to police has landed in trouble.The 51-year-old man was charged with misusing the emergency 911 line after he called dispatchers twice to complain about the size of the meal served to him at C...
Updated one month ago