Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Woman rescued from under dead husband

MARION, Ill. — Bruce Pitts had a feeling something was wrong when the newspapers began piling up in the roadside tube outside the southern Illinois home of Fred and Blanche Roberts.

So on Sunday, the worried newspaper carrier cracked open an unlocked side door and saw 84-year-old Blanche Roberts helplessly looking back at him, her right leg pinned beneath the body of her 77-year-old husband — who apparently had been dead for days in the home just outside Marion, Ill.

"The good Lord was with her. She was not scared, wasn't panicking. Nothing," Pitts said Tuesday during a telephone interview. "She was conscious, talking. Just peaceful. It was remarkable."

Williamson County, Ill., coroner Mike Burke said Fred Roberts likely collapsed and died of a heart attack Wednesday evening after mowing the lawn, based on accounts from people who were visiting the home that day.

"They said he was really beat-red in the face, that he didn't look good," Burke said.

He described Roberts as "a good-sized man," though he declined to divulge the man's proportions.

But there was no doubt that Blanche Roberts, once pinned on a landing leading from the kitchen to the basement, couldn't wriggle free. Burke said she was trapped in "kind of an awkward position;" Pitts said she was sitting up but wedged against a wall.

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