Two locals help motorist escape from fiery vehicle

Two locals help motorist escape from fiery vehicleBy LAURA Austin

News Review Staff Writer

On the evening of Monday April 25, emergency responders were alerted to reports of a vehicle accident that occurred under the Highway 395 overpass on N. Brown Road. California Highway Patrole (CHP), Kern County Fire Departments Stations 73 and 74 and Liberty Ambulance responded to find a single vehicle that had apparently rolled and caught fire.

Xavier Tan, of San Diego, CA, was driving home from a skiing trip up north when he apparently abruptly veered left off his course and crashed his vehicle under the 395 overpass.

“It was really dark and all of the sudden my navigation system told me to make a left turn, indicating I was traveling the wrong direction. I panicked because it was such short notice and the road was split in three different directions, so I swerved to the road to the left,” Tan said.

“He crossed over the wrong way onto the on-ramp from Brown Road to 395 northbound. When he came upon the intersection of Brown Road he suddenly observed he could only make a right or left turn. He turned his vehicle to the right crossing into the desert losing control of his vehicle subsequently overturning. Luckily there were no vehicles around as he went the wrong way down the on ramp or crossing the Brown Road intersection.” CHP Officer Don Weidner said.

Tan recalled “When I came upon the intersection of Brown Road I suddenly realized I had run out of road and could only make a right or left turn.” Tan attempted to turn his car to the right but because he was traveling at a high a rate of speed he failed to navigate the turn and overshot the road, crossing into the desert. Tan lost control of his vehicle as it bounced across the desert overturning and narrowly missing several concrete pillars that support the Hwy 395 overpass. After rolling, the vehicle came to rest on it’s side, inches from the massive concrete structure.

“Fortunately for Tan,” Weidner said, “A motorist and eyewitness happened upon the scene just as Tan’s accident occurred.” The eyewitnesses local Inyokern residents stopped and rushed to help Tan from the car. As the bystanders and Tan were attempting to break through the windshield, one of the women noticed that the car had burst into flames and started yelling at Tan to get out because the car was on fire.

Tan narrowly escaped the burning vehicle without sustaining any serious injury. “I am just so grateful those two women that stopped to help me,” Tan said. “I don’t know what I would have done if they hadn’t been there.”

Kern County Fire Engines 73 and 74 arrived shortly after Tan’s escape and extinguished the fully engulfed vehicle. Liberty Ambulance out of Ridgecrest arrived soon after and rendered medical aide. Tan was treated and released on scene.

Laura Austin photo: Kern County Fireman Anderson extinguishes the fire that totally consumed the vehicle.

Story First Published: 2022-04-29