Teen pulled to safety from sinking car after crashing into Temecula pool

TEMECULA — A 17-year-old driver suffered minor injuries after losing control of her car and crashing through a residential fence and into a back yard swimming pool in Temecula yesterday afternoon, Sunday, May 19. Rain slicked roads are being cited as possible contributing factors in the crash, which happened at the intersection of Calle Banuellos and Nighthawk Pass.

Although the victim sustained minor injuries to her wrist and was “badly shaken up” by the crash, according to officials and witnesses at the scene, she was reportedly pulled to safety from her sinking car by several witnesses and good Samaritans who came to her aid in the moments after the crash.

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City of Temecula Police and Fire Departments, along with AMR and other emergency personnel, were dispatched to the crash after 911 callers reported a driver failed to negotiate a turn and plowed through a home’s back yard fence at the southwest corner of the intersection. 911 callers also reported the car landed in the home’s swimming pool and that a young woman was trapped inside the car, which was sinking into the water.

While officials were racing to the scene, 911 callers updated that several people had rushed to aid the teen, breaking the back window of her sedan and pulling her from the vehicle.

Officials survey the scene of a crash, after a teen was pulled to safety by good Samaritans who witnessed the solo-vehicle accident. Temecula PD photo

Temecula PD later shared a tongue-in-cheek social media post about the accident, writing in part, “Well the day was passing swimmingly until someone went off the deep end and redefined the term ‘carpool’.”

“In all seriousness, we will try and remain pool-itically correct by just reminding everyone that we will be seeing some more water fall from the sky later so be wary of slippery roads,” Temecula PD’s post continued. “Drive safely tonight because our traffic officers will not be letting unsafe drivers float on by.”

Although the department’s post was meant to be humorous, not everyone found the situation funny, including one area resident whose husband and son were two of the first people who came to the victim’s aid and pulled her from her sinking car.

“This was a serious situation. A young girl was trapped in this vehicle,” the woman told RCNS after the crash. “My husband and son helped get her out before any responders arrived.”

Although the woman asked that neither she nor her family be identified, telling RCNS, “We are a very humble family. Any person with a heart would have done the same,” she continued by saying, “I only commented in Facebook because I feel that the post was in poor taste and complete disrespect to (the victim’s) family.”

Despite asking to not be identified, the woman explained her husband and son were on their way home from the store “when they saw a young man running, then saw smoke and dust and realized what had happened.”

“This is a really sad situation because the young girl was extremely distraught,” the woman continued. “My husband said she was in complete panic because the car was rolling and moving deeper in the water. It could have not ended so well.”

In spite of the teen’s traumatizing experience, the woman said the victim “was just very shook up,” but that she was able to walk to an ambulance to be checked out after her rescue.

“She was so distraught,” the woman described. “Poor sweet baby.”

Another witness, Kaylaa Simonsen – who lives across the street from where the accident happened – also later shared with RCNS what she had seen in the moments after the solo-vehicle crash.

“The first on scene was my neighbor’s teen son,” Simonsen explained; saying that as the girl’s car was sinking into the pool after the crash she saw her teenage neighbor and several others run to help the victim. 

Simonsen described that as water was beginning to fill the car’s passenger compartment, the victim scrambled toward the back of her Volkswagen in a panic. As she did so, the good Samaritans who had come to her aid shattered the back window of her car and helped pull her to safety from the sinking sedan.

Although some found Temecula PD’s post to be in “poor taste” most others appreciated the department’s light-hearted approach to reporting about what otherwise could have been a tragic incident. Their social media post had received hundreds of comments, reactions, and shares by the morning after it was posted.

The victim’s car was eventually pulled from the pool and Temecula PD’s investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.

Click any image to open full-size gallery.


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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