Local News

Friday, Jan 13 2012 11:36 AM

CHP: One dead, another hurt in canyon crash

  1. 1 of 4

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Emergency crews hoist this accident victim up the side of the steep Kern River Canyon wall, early Friday morning.

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  2. 2 of 4

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Emergency personnel extricate the driver of this vehicle and get ready to carry him up the side of the steep Kern River Canyon wall Friday morning. The CHP received a call from a passerby who came upon the vehicle over the side.

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  3. 3 of 4

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Friday morning in the Kern River Canyon, Kern County and Bakersfield firefighters work on an accident victim who was extricated and then hoisted to the highway before heading to KMC for major injuries.

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  4. 4 of 4

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Kern County and Bakersfield firefighters hoist an accident victim out of the Kern River Canyon early Friday morning. Highway 178 in both directions was closed for several hours. This was the driver of the vehicle who suffered major injuries and was taken to Kern Medical Center.

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By the bakersfield californian

One man was killed and another injured Friday after a car drove off the roadway and plummeted onto rocks at the mouth of the Kern River Canyon.

David Mitchell, 21, of Lake Isabella, died about six hours after the 6:22 a.m. crash, the Kern County coroner’s office reported.

The California Highway Patrol reported Ridgecrest resident Jeffrey Soulsberg, 19, suffered moderate injuries.

Mitchell was driving eastbound on Highway 178 shortly after 6 a.m. when he struck a rock on the right side of the canyon wall, officers reported. He overcompensated to the left and drove the 1999 BMW off the canyon edge, officers said.

The car came to rest on top of boulders 120 feet down the side of the canyon, officers reported. Soulsberg was able to walk back up to the roadway and flag down help.

Kern County firefighters got Mitchell out of the car.

CHP Sgt. Michelle Skieresz said the roadway was closed for three hours while emergency crews worked the scene. Officers initially thought alcohol was involved, but it no longer appears that was the case, she said.

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