Crash of water and a terrifying ride: Driver glad he's aliveJanuary 12, 2018 9:15pm

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) — A driver who rode a wave of muddy water down a twisting street in his car during a Southern California flood said he is lucky to be alive.

"I just got pushed down the side of a hill by a wall of water and mud," Desionne Franklin said in an Instagram video after Tuesday's terrifying ride. "Rocks flowing, mud flowing everywhere. Barely made it out."

Franklin, 44, and his girlfriend evacuated a friend's home in the city of Burbank where they were staying as waves of storm runoff began pouring down a steep foothill street near hiking trails and a golf course. Water, rocks and mud cascaded down from mountains stripped bare of soil-stabilizing brush by a recent wildfire.

Franklin, who is from Dallas, said he heard rumbling around 6 a.m. Tuesday and saw something he'd never seen before: "river rapids in the middle of a residential street."

But then the rain stopped and the water receded.

"I went back to sleep, not thinking about it," he said Thursday.

Hours later, however, Franklin was told the neighborhood might be in danger and was being evacuated. He and his friend packed their cars and shoveled away several feet of mud that was caked in front of the driveway.

Then, a neighbor reported that rocks and small boulders were beginning to fall farther up the hill.

Franklin said he told everyone, "'We've got to go now.' I was a little frantic."

He said his friend packed his daughter and three cats in a car and left. Franklin and his girlfriend left in a gray Prius.

Franklin drove slowly down the steep, curving road through waves of rock-laden, muddy water. The brakes did little good as the wheels skidded on rubble, the steering wheel shuddered and the surging current pushed at the car.

Then, a wave of water crashed into the back of the car.

"My girlfriend was screaming at the top of her lungs: 'Go, go, go! We've got to get out of here!'" Franklin said.

"There was barely any traction," he said. "Then the hydroplaning started. I was completely at the mercy of the flow of the water."

Video by a local firefighters' union showed the car sweeping down and around a curve on the cascade. For 30 seconds, Franklin lost all control of the car before regaining a little traction.

"'Oh, this might be how it ends,'" he said he thought.

On the way, Franklin saw other, mangled cars that had been swept away.

"They looked like wadded-up pieces of paper," he said. "It was terrible."

At last, the Prius made it to the bottom of the hill. Franklin said he and his girlfriend looked at each other and "just sat there, speechless."

Remarkably, nobody was hurt in the flooding. The Prius, which Franklin recently had leased, came away with only a few scratches.

"I love the car now," Franklin said. "It got us through hell and high water, literally."

___

This story has been corrected to show that the video was made Tuesday, not Thursday.

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

The Latest: US 101 near reopening after California mudslideAuthorities say the key highway along the California coast has been cleared of debris and is a few days from reopening after a massive mudslide
Dozens of flights canceled at Denver airport due to stormOfficials say about 190 flights have been canceled at Denver International Airport as a winter storm moves through Colorado
In this Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 image from video provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, the U.S. 101 freeway remains underwater as clean-up crews work to clear the roads throughout Montecito, Calif., following the deadly mudflow and flooding Jan. 9. Crews working around the clock cleared boulders, trees and crushed cars from all lanes of U.S. 101, but California officials still weren't sure Monday when the key coastal highway might reopen after being inundated during mudslides that killed 20 people. (Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)
California community makes recovery strides after mudslide
This 2010 photo provided by Alex Ocampo shows Fabiola Benitez, who as of Jan. 18, 2018 is still missing since mudslides hit the home she and her husband rented with his brother's family in Montecito, Calif., where they cared for million-dollar homes as gardeners and a housekeeper. Her 10-year-old son Jonathan was killed, her husband Victor Benitez and their 2-year-old son were injured and remain in the hospital. The Benitez family are part of Montecito's immigrant work force which suffered outsize losses in the Jan. 9 mudslides that killed 20 people, injured dozens and destroyed hundreds of homes in the star-studded community. Victor's brother, Antonio Benitez, also was injured and his wife and daughter were killed. (Alex Ocampo via AP)
The Latest: Authorities find body of missing mudslide victim
In this Friday, Jan. 19, 2018 photo Caltrans and other workers continue their around-the-clock efforts to clean-up and repair the damaged section of US 101 in Montecito, Calif., that was closed following flooding on Jan. 9. California officials say key coastal highway swamped by deadly mudslides has reopened Sunday, Jan 21, 2018, after nearly 2-week closure. (Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP, File)
California highway swamped by deadly mudslides reopens
FILE - This file photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 shows Faviola Benitez Calderon. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office has located her body as she was missing since mudslides on Jan. 9 struck Montecito, Calif. The working-class immigrant population in Montecito suffered outsized losses from the recent mudslides that killed at least 21, injured dozens and damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)
Mudslides take heavy toll on immigrants serving posh town
AdChoices

Related Searches

Related Searches

AdChoices