The disappearance and discovery of Kourtney Thibeault was one of the most heart-warming stories of survival and perseverance in 2009, and now it’s coming to television.

The Learning Channel plans to air a documentary this weekend titled “My Kid Survived,” which will include Thibeault’s ordeal.   

Thibeault was a 17-year-old senior at Mount Ararat High School, returning from an advanced class in Auburn on Nov. 17, when she hit a deer, lost control of her father’s Ford Explorer and crashed into a ravine, out of sight from the road above.

She lay there bleeding, several bones broken, unable to get out or reach her cell phone. For two days, her family and police searched for her. They feared that she had been the victim of a crime, that she might be dead.

Then Topsham police Officer Troy Garrison spotted a thin tire track heading off Route 196. He followed it to some snapped trees, then saw the Explorer at the base of the ravine.

Thibeault was barely conscious.

“She fought and she lived and she held out long enough to make it,” said Katherine Perrault, Thibeault’s mother, who sees the story as inspirational.

“If nothing else,” she said, “don’t give up.”

Thibeault was hospitalized in critical condition. She recovered enough to march in June with her graduating high school class, and won the school’s Summit Award, as the student who had to work the hardest to graduate.

A television producer contacted Thibeault about her story after graduation, and a crew spent a week filming last summer. The re-enactment scenes were filmed in the Philippines, Perrault said.

The show will air at 6 p.m. Sunday, then again on Monday during the day, she said.
Perrault said she and Thibeault are a little anxious about the finished product.

“You spend a week taping … eight to 10 hours a day. You hope they pick the best of the best,” she said.

Thibeault has maintained the same strive-for-success style she had before the crash, when she was captain of Mount Ararat’s cheerleading squad and a strong student.

She attended Husson University last semester and will transfer to the University of New England in January to study nursing, her mother said.

She still faces surgery related to her broken jaw and other injuries, but she remains thankful and hardworking.

“She goes about every day with an attitude of ‘I have a lot to live for.’”

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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