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Man dies in canyon road crash

Posted: May 27, 2009 9:43 p.m.
Updated: May 28, 2009 4:55 a.m.

An elderly man was killed Wednesday afternoon after his car rolled over the side of Vasquez Canyon Road and crashed some 200 feet down a ravine, a county fire official said.

The cause of death was unclear at 5:40 p.m., according to Battalion Chief Buck Buchanan of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

No further information was available about the man.

Shortly after 5 p.m. firefighters from Fire Station 108 responded to a report of a crash on Vasquez Canyon Road east of Bouquet Canyon Road, a fire department supervisor said.

The car the man was driving reportedly crossed over a lane and plummeted down the side of the hill, rolling over and coming to rest upside down, Buchanan said.

Saugus resident Alice Serrano said she was driving in the opposite lane when she saw the man’s car cross over the eastbound lane and hit a bump.

“As he hit the bump, the car started flipping and the dust went up so I couldn’t see,” she said. “Two seconds more and I would have been down there with him.”  

More than 20 firefighters and inmates from the California Department of Corrections hauled the victim’s body up the ravine on a stretcher with the help of a pulley system as more than 15 residents looked on.

“In my last 20 years here, I’ve seen probably six or seven people go down (this ravine),” said Doug Mavro, of Canyon Country, who stopped to watch after fire crews had arrived. “The road is bad, it’s bumpy, there are pot holes and people just speed up and down the road. It’s a shame.”

County Fire Captain Al Stuart led the fire crew of six which extracted the victim’s body and said he was dead upon their arrival to the wrecked car.

“He was completely pinned in the car, upside down, compromising his airway,” Stuart said. He said that the car’s seat belt had to be cut before the victim could be removed.

Buchanan said the county Coroner’s Office had been notified. No identification of the victim had been determined. Fire officials said they could not determine whether the man died due to pre- or post-incident conditions. California Highway Patrol will handle the investigation of the incident.

Vasquez Canyon Road remained open in both directions at 5:45 p.m., but CHP officers were directing backed-up lanes of traffic.



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