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By Brian Hews
LA PALMA~Firefighters and swift-water rescue units searched Coyote Creek from the Marquardt Bridge, south, after an SUV overturned on the narrow bridge last Saturday night, fearing that the driver had been thrown into the river after the accident.
The driver was northbound on Marquardt around 6:50 p.m. when the SUV suddenly and inexplicably spun out of control, hit the guardrail knocking 30 feet of the span into the river, coming to rest on its roof.
“It didn’t look as though anybody besides the driver was in the vehicle,” La Palma Police Chief Eric Nuñez said. Debris was strewn as far as 100 feet from the site of the crash so “it looks like speed was a factor.”
Water in the river below was moving at a fast pace and roads were wet at the time of the crash, OCFA Capt. Steve Concialdi said.
Sheriff’s Department helicopters searched the river with thermal imaging cameras, Nuñez said.
Thirty OCFA firefighters and all of the authority’s swift-water rescue teams were sent, Concialdi said.
“We are not certain if the person fled the scene or if more than one person was swept down the river,” Concialdi said.
The search was called off after around 8 p.m. after nothing was found. Police will attempt to contact the registered owner of the SUV.
The rescue scene should serve as a dangerous reminder once El Niño hits the county in the coming months, Concialdi said.
“It doesn’t take a lot rain to get the channel to quickly start flowing,” Concialdi said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the La Palma Police Department.
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