An elderly Santa Maria man reported missing by his family was found with non-life-threatening injuries in his crashed vehicle after a Santa Barbara County Search Tuesday morning, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

The 86-year-old man was reported missing by concerned family members around 8:15 a.m. Tuesday, after he didn’t return home the previous night, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.

Family members were able reach the man on his cell phone, and he told them he had been in a vehicle accident, Hoover said.

A sheriff’s deputy talked to the man and confirmed that he was stuck in his car. With the help of county dispatchers, authorities located the cell phone in the area of Harris Grade Road. 

Deputies on the ground and a Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit helicopter searched the area and found the vehicle upside down around 10:30 a.m., Hoover said.

“It turns out that he had been driving in the early morning hours from Lompoc to Santa Maria and ran off the road and I think went over an embankment, about 20 feet down. He had been in the car ever since,” she said.

County Fire personnel extricated the man from the vehicle and he was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, she said. 

The California Highway Patrol responded to the scene to conduct a traffic accident investigation, Hoover said. 

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