Witness Describes Frantic Effort To Save Woman After Fiery Crash On 101 Freeway In Calabasas

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A 27-year-old woman rescued in a fiery crash that killed her 9-year-old daughter was in critical condition Sunday with burns of over 90 percent of her body. 

A witness captured the struggle to save Gilani Taylor when she crawled out of a 1995 Chrysler which caught fire after the horrifying crash along the 101 (Ventura) Freeway near Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas.

The accident occurred about 8:30 a.m. Saturday after Taylor apparently lost control, veered off the road, hit the center divider before clipping the back of a tractor trailer and overturning.

Edward Lawrence, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, talked with Pastor Dale Johnsen who stopped to help Taylor along with about a half dozen others and captured images of the rescue.

“And at first I didn’t see any movement hoping whoever was in there had gotten out,” he said.

The video shows the frantic effort to put out the flames on Taylor’s body. The men can be seen using their shirts to beat out the flames. Johnsen used water bottles he had in his car on her.

“Taking off their shirts, trying to douse the flames, trying to get out the water bottles,” he said.

Taylor’s daughter, Jayla, was pronounced dead at the scene. According to Officer Lelang Tang, the flames were too intense for anyone to have been able to save the child.

Taylor was taken to UCLA Medical Center and then transferred to the burn center at County-USC Medical Center where she was listed in critical condition with burns of over 90 percent of her body.

“It’s like the most horrible trauma. It’s like being in a terror movie,” Johnsen added.

» Child Killed, Woman Severely Burned In Calabasas Crash

  • HollywoodSaint

    all tractor trailers carry fire extinguishers. why didnt anyone especially the truck driver grab it and use it. could have saved that poor girls life!!

    • Curious observer

      It’s entirely plausible that when the officer said the flames were too intense that the statement also referenced being able to use a fire extinguisher on the base of the fire. It’s very possible it had been attempted but failed.

  • mike

    How stupid! What the hell is the point of showing nothing? Why are Americans constantly treated as idiots?

  • Be smart

    Very sad story,

    The recovery of the burns are bad enough, knowing your doughter died in such a terrible death is going to tough battle for the rest of this families life.

    My prayers go out to them.

    As for fire extinguishers, they help in a small fire at the begining, but once the fire is estabished a small fire extingusher is no match for a car fire let alone any fire that has been burning for a while. If you choose to use a fire extingusher, get formal training. It helps to know what you are doing in case of an emergency.

    Many cities and private companies provide training for free. Cheack it out,
    it might just save a life. Who knows, maybe yours!

  • Karen

    I pray for this woman and her family. This was a horrible accident and people helped her. If you watched the video, you would understand how bad it was.

    I pray to God that she and her family get all the strength they need to deal with this horrible tragedy.

  • Alan

    This was a tragic accident. CBS should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for showing footage of a burning car containing a dead child while her mother burned in the foreground.

  • Nimbo777

    The life saved is that of a beautiful woman, GILANI TAYLOR. See her music video at youtube.com/GilaniMusic.

    We’re praying for you, Gilani!

  • R.T.

    it was a nice effort on the part of the by-standers but in all likelyhood this lady will not make it because of the damage and the depression of knowing her child died

  • Jovani

    I am just absolutely appalled… I send ma prayers out to this family I can not believe how quickly a life could be taken I am now more aware than ever that life is not promised I just feel so so so sad for the child but more for the mother who if the good lord says the same will have to live without her precious child…. smh I will keep u in ma prayers.

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