By Mary O’KEEFE
A dramatic early morning rescue today on Angeles Crest Highway had Los Angeles County sheriffs risking their lives to save a driver and passenger.
At about 1 a.m. Crescenta Valley Sheriff Station deputies Tsuang, Goble and Dallakyan were flagged down by a group of motorists who reported their friend’s black Honda had possibly gone over the side of ACH, according to a statement from the CV Sheriff’s Station.
Deputies began a search and found the vehicle about 450 feet over the side of the Crest at mile marker 42. The driver and passenger had been ejected from the car. The passenger, a 21-year-old Los Angeles man, had made his way up the side of the mountain.
“[The passenger] had crawled up to the road and made it to the [U.S.] Forest Service Fire Station,” said Lt. Angela Shepherd.
Deputies found the driver, a 21-year-old Highland Park man, hanging onto the side of the mountain 100 to 150 feet below the road. Deputies Goble and Dallakyan went down the steep hill to help the driver. They found that the man was perched on the edge of a cliff and had a head injury. Dep. Goble held onto the driver to prevent him from sliding over the cliff, a 400-foot drop. The man appeared to be delirious from his head injury; both deputies continued to engage him in conversation.
“Otherwise he would have gone unconscious,” Shepherd said.
Los Angeles County Fire Dept., California Highway Patrol and Montrose Search and Rescue also responded to the scene. Dep. Tsuang was on the road to relate the situation to emergency responders as they arrived. The deputies continued to hold the driver on the side of the cliff for about 30 minutes until MSR members arrived.
MSR team members rappelled down the mountainside with a stretcher. The driver and deputies were bought back up to the road via safety cables. The driver was transported to Holy Cross Hospital with head trauma and major internal injuries. The passenger was transported to a local hospital and treated for possible internal injuries.
It is possible that the driver and passenger were involved with street racing. The incident is under investigation.
Shepherd praised the deputies and MSR for the rescue.
“It was a pretty heroic rescue. They risked their lives to save him,” she added.
At one point, the driver began sliding over the cliff and the deputy slid as well. That would have been a 400-foot fall, however the deputy maintained his hold on the driver until he was rescued.