GALLATIN—A missing New York City man was found alive the afternoon of June 3, four days after his car crashed into a secluded section of woods along the east side of the Taconic State Parkway.
Thomas D. Wopat-Moreau, 22, of East 11th Street in New York City, was last seen leaving a party in East Fishkill in the early morning hours of May 30 on his way to Copake, where his mother lives.
When he did not arrive there and was not heard from, his family reported him missing. State Police investigators, troopers and aviation units embarked upon an extensive search, as did members of Mr. Wopat-Moreau’s family.
State Police put out a request for the public’s assistance in locating Mr. Wopat-Moreau, describing him as 6 feet tall, 190 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. They said he was last seen driving a 2005 silver BMW 325xi station wagon with New York license plate number DCY5649.
Using information discovered in connection with Mr. Wopat-Moreau’s cell phone, police narrowed their search to an area on the parkway.
Trooper Ronald Cardis from the Poughkeepsie barracks was walking along the shoulder of the northbound lanes in Gallatin about a mile south of Lake Taghkanic State Park, when he noticed some brush that appeared to be disturbed. At 2:10 p.m., following the trail, the trooper and Livingston State Police Senior lnvestigator Gary Mazzacano discovered Mr. Wopat-Moreau’s car overturned in thick brush about 480 feet down an embankment.
Trooper Cardis and the senior investigator heard calls for help and following the voice found Mr. Wopat-Moreau about 150 feet away from his car in a swampy area. He had crawled there after the crash and could not move further, police said.
He was unable to walk—suffering from a serious back injury, exposure and dehydration after four and a half days in the woods.
Northern Dutchess Paramedics and Taghkanic firefighters were called to the scene.
Mr. Wopat-Moreau was carried out of the woods and airlifted to the Albany Medical Center, where his family joined him.
Police say Mr. Wopat-Moreau was driving northbound early Sunday morning, May 30, when his car went off the east shoulder of the parkway, became airborne and rocketed over 400 feet into the woods, overturning several times.
Police say he was conscious and talking when they found him.
State Police Troop K, Zone 1 Commander Captain Scott Brown described the rescue as a miracle.
“Most individuals suffering similar injuries and circumstances for that long would not have survived. Thomas definitely has a strong will to live. When found, he was thirsty, tired and grateful to be rescued,” Capt. Brown said in a press release.