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

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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.

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