Accidents on the Crest

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It has been a dangerous few weeks on the Angeles Crest and National Forest highways.

Last weekend there were two vehicles over-the-side and missing hikers that resulted in two call-outs for Montrose Search and Rescue on Saturday and two on Sunday.

On Aug. 1, MSR members Doug Cramoline and Linda Daniels responded to a motorcycle that had collided with a guardrail on ANF highway.

“He hit the guardrail and the motorcycle skidded about 50 feet away,” Cramoline said.

The 21-year-old man had severed one leg and the other was severely injured, Cramoline said.

“When we arrived [Los Angeles County Sheriff Dept.] Air 5 was there,” he said.

U.S. Forest Service had also responded and, according to reports, a passerby was the first to respond. The passerby got out of her vehicle, according to reports, and stayed with the victim.

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“The young man was transferred to Huntington Memorial,” Cramoline said. “He was non- responsive when we arrived.”

The man is, reportedly, still in the hospital and it appears surgeons might be able to save his right leg.

Cramoline said he is glad the man survived and is especially glad of the possibility of one leg being saved because when they arrived it did not look good for him. He had lost a lot of blood.

“I [credit] the quick response from Air 5 and U.S. Forest Service for putting on the tourniquets,” he said.

Cramoline said he has seen a lot of vehicle accidents on the Crest and Forest Highway.

“This [young man] had just gotten his learner’s permit for the motorcycle,” Cramoline said.

He added there have been many over-the-side vehicles and motorcycle accidents lately.

“We are just in that cycle,” said John Camphouse, MSR captain.

Camphouse added there have been a number of vehicle accidents on the Crest and less call-outs for hikers but that could change.

Many times motorcycle riders who have just received their license or are novices think that ANF and the Crest are good places to start riding but those roads are not for beginners. The roads within the ANF can often be littered with falling rocks and the turns in many areas are dramatic.

“What I have seen is a lot of times less experienced riders come up here with experienced riders and try to keep up, which is beyond their skill level,” Cramoline said.

It has yet to be determined the exact cause of the Aug. 1 motorcycle accident but Camphouse said often times it is speed.

“It is what the [California Highway Patrol] always says – to slow down,” he said.

Photos by LASD