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The section of the Marquardt bridge taken out by the SUV. The sidewalk is closed at this time. A full search and rescue occurred after the crash using helicopters and swift water rescue personnel. No one was found. Photo by Brian Hews.

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.

  • Country Bridge says:

    This was a busy weekend for the Cerritos Fine arts and Historical Commission (FAC) wondering if this is going to go down in history; being one of the more gruesome weekends prior to Christmas??

    SUV drowning, happened on a Saturday night, during a rainstorm, plus we lost another motor vehicle accident at the intersection of 183rd Street/Shoemaker; car took down a street light pole, as the helicopters were busy patrolling both accidents. Bridge is both outdated and not safe;plus is shared by 2 counties and 2 cites, just all depends, where one stands on the bridge for ID.

    Helicopter is the most disturbing, as we not only had these two motor vehicle accidents working, around 8 p.m. Saturday night; plus Shadow Park HOA heard gun shots ringing out loud over by the Del Amo bridge, Cerritos………..

    Possibly this SUV, the driver will either washed to sea, or was eaten by the wild coyotes combing the Regional Park area.

    Sunday morning we woke up to helicopters again, as they homicide / suicide was working on Denni street at 7:20am. This was all very busy weekend for the city of Cerritos, hope the FAC is taking notes.

    Both La Palma and Cerritos councils and forefathers, have done nothing to appease the Island Sections of both cities. Hmmmmmmmmmm, odd, homicide and this MVA, both happened within day, in the Island Sections. Photos speak words, silent Island Communities are forevermore scarred during Xmas 2015. Ret. Barrows and Grace Hu, both promised dreams come true for the island communities, sat on CCC more them 35 yrs combined and we still have broken bridges: Del Amo and Marquardt; plus island communities still are not plumbed for water from Cerritos.

    Both LP and Cerritos, need councilpersons elected by districts, compared to the ABC Trustees. Council by both cities are broken and breach the rites of the home owners who live in these Island Communities. Xmas 2015: Del Amo Bridge, gateway to both cities and both counties, supported no Holiday Decor or banners. Councils give rat butt; to these out of site, out of mind: ISLAND COMMUNITIES.