CASTAIC (CBSLA.com) — The driver of a big-rig who was trapped in severe flooding on Highway 58 in Kern County last week spoke publicly about his ordeal on Monday for the first time.

Jose Vargas was driving his truck east of Tehachapi, on the way to Fresno, on Oct. 15 when a downpour caused the highway to suddenly fill up with brown, muddy water — sweeping cars up and slamming them together.

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“The water was running very fast it was raging water. It looked like a river,” he said.

Trying his best to control his truck as the water rose, Jose was able to avoid hitting other cars.

With panic setting in, Vargas screamed for help and prayed to God that he would make it. He said he was thinking of his family.

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The water was so high, rescuers couldn’t get to Vargas and the dozens of other drivers quickly.

Vargas and the other motorists spent a long night in their vehicles before they were rescued by authorities and taken to a shelter.

“I’m grateful to the people who risked their lives to save ours,” he said. “God bless them.”

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Three days later, Vargas was back on the road and thankful he escaped the ordeal unharmed.