HESPERIA (CBSLA) — A man who fell asleep behind the wheel and woke up to his car filling with water in the California Aqueduct managed to escape alive Tuesday morning.
The driver, a 21-year-old Victorville man, told deputies when he woke up to discover his car was quickly sinking, he waited for the pressure inside to equalize, then opened the door and was able to escape.
He grabbed a buoy, pulled himself out of the water and walked to a gas station to call for help. Even though temperatures were in the 20s, the man did not need to be hospitalized, CBS2/KCAL9’s Tina Patel reports.
Sheriff’s deputies say the car is still underneath the seemingly still waters. The agency’s dive team is waiting for the water district to stop the flow before they can safely remove it.
It’s not the first time a car has gone into the aqueduct. There were two deadly crashes just last year and community members are urging officials to make improvements to prevent accidents.
“Sadly, I’ve heard about it a lot. I’ve lived here for seven years,” Joanna Cuevas said.
“It could be better-lit, certainly. And maybe some better signage,” said driver Rick Mejia.
“The saying goes if you’re tired, pull over. But sometimes, it’s not even safe,” Faith McLeod said.
Many are now wondering if they would have been able to stay calm and figure out what to do if they found themselves in a similar situation.
“Do whatever I could to get out of the car, try to break the windows,” one man said.
Experts say rolling down your window is the first thing you should try to do if you find yourself submerged.
If that doesn’t work and you can’t break the window, that’s when you hold your breath and wait to open the door, like this man was able to do.