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UPDATE: Man dies in early morning Acton crash; daughter survives

Posted: March 24, 2013 5:44 p.m.
Updated: March 24, 2013 5:44 p.m.

A 9-year-old girl who survived a vehicle crash that killed her father in Acton early Sunday crawled from the wreckage, climbed 200 feet from the bottom of a ravine, hiked in the dark across “difficult terrain” to get help and, finally, flagged down a passing motorist, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The girl was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Los Angeles. Her condition has not been disclosed.

Shortly after 2:30 a.m. Sunday, the driver of a 2010 Ford Escape SUV traveling southbound on Sierra Highway at an unknown speed allowed the vehicle to leave the roadway north of Soledad Canyon Road, Antelope Valley CHP Officer D. Helfrich said in his report.

The vehicle plunged down a dirt embankment out of control and rolled over numerous times, he said.

Dead is 35-year-old Alejandro Renteria of North Hollywood.

His 9-year-old daughter was taken to Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

The girl left the scene in an attempt to get aid for the driver, Helfrich said.

“She hiked through difficult terrain to a nearby home, but no one answered the door. She hiked up a steep embankment in a very dark and threatening environment. She was finally successful in flagging down a passing motorist,” he said.


Acton firefighters who responded to the call had high praise for the young survivor.

“She self-extricated herself from the vehicle,” said one of the firefighters who assisted in the rescue.

“Luckily she had her seat belt on,” he said. “Her father did not.”

The firefighter, who asked not to be named in accordance with Fire Department policy, said the car encountered a “terraced embankment” meaning, it hit plateaus as it careened down the ravine.

“It was a bad place for her to have gone over,” he said. “When she got out, she walked to a nearby house but there was nobody home.

“Then she walked back up to the road where she flagged down a motorist,” he said. “She stayed in that person’s car.”

Paramedics with the Los Angeles County Fire Department were dispatched to the traffic collision at 2:33 a.m., said Inspector Quvondo Johnson.

“We transported one child via helicopter to the hospital,” he said.

Firefighters initially wanted to land the chopper near the Metrolink Station in Acton, but because of power lines, they decided to land at a spot northeast of the Pearblossom Highway off ramp, according to the firefighter interviewed by The Signal.

The rescue helicopter lifted off the ground at 3:34 a.m., Johnson said, and the girl was taken to the hospital.


“She was alive,” the firefighter said, when asked about her condition. “We moved her via helicopter because it was a fatal crash with personal space intrusion.”

When firefighters encounter a crash, he said, where they find wreckage that “intrudes” more than 18 inches into the vehicle’s interior, they treat any injury to an occupant as trauma.

That was the case with Sunday’s crash, he said.

“What’s sickening is that it happened about 2,000 yards from the Acton Fire Station,” he said.

On Sunday afternoon, the Acton firefighters had not received word of her condition.

“I hope she’s OK,” the firefighter said.

The CHP investigation, meanwhile, is ongoing, Helfrich said.

Alcohol is suspected to have played a role in this collision, he said in his report.


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