MONTEBELLO (CBSLA.com) — Witnesses are describing a harrowing rescue of a man trapped inside his minivan after it plowed into a pole Thursday night and became draped in live power lines.
The crash took place just after 7 p.m. in Montebello, at Beverly Boulevard and Poplar Avenue.
Inside the minivan was 68-year-old Pou Wen Chi, a doctor who lives in Montebello.
Mike Savage shot cellphone video of Chi stuck inside the car as power lines sparked around him. People in the area can be heard shouting for him to not get out of the car.
“We ran outside, that’s when we noticed the pole was down. And as we tried walking closer there was another big explosion. Everyone was telling the guy to just stay in the car,” Savage said.
A SoCal Edison crew came and turned off the electricity so firefighters could get Chi safely out of the van.
“I don’t think he realized the wires were around his car, and every time he moved it would spark, like bright. Like, when we were running, it sparked again and we all backed up,” witness Justin Vasquez said.
Chi’s wife says he crashed after his tire blew out and lost control of the minivan.
The doctor was uninjured and his wife said he still went to work Friday.
Approximately 5,000 SoCal Edison customers lost power for several hours because of the crash.
Crews have had to replace thousands of feet of wire.
His wife says he’s embarrassed by the damage the crash caused.
There are several homes without power Friday night but SoCal Edison says that was unrelated to Thursday’s crash.