DEVORE (CBSLA.com) — Rialto City Councilman Shawn O’Connell survived a chilly night in his vehicle after his car went down an embankment near Glen Helen, officials said Wednesday.
According to the California Highway Patrol, O’Connell lost control of his car while on his way to a friend’s house Tuesday night. The friend reported him missing.
O’Connell’s vehicle was found off the I-15 Wednesday afternoon, down an embankment and in an open brush area near Glen Helen.
KCAL9’s Tom Wait says Rialto police had been searching for the councilman, who is paraplegic, since 7 a.m.
Officials found O’Connell after they located his car, which was approximately 50 yards off the side of the freeway, according to San Bernardino County Fire.
The cause of the crash is under investigation, but O’Connell may have suffered back spasms prior to the crash. CHP officials declined to confirm whether O’Connell had back spasms but said alcohol and drugs do not seem to be a factor in the crash.
O’Connell eventually used his cell phone to call Rialto Police for help and told them he lost control of his car and passed out. Rialto Police told him to call 911, which allowed the CHP to triangulate the location of his cell phone.
KCAL9’s Crystal Cruz reports O’Connell remained at Arrowhead Regional Hospital Wednesday night, and is recovering from a broken vertebrae, bruised lungs and a bruised kidney.