Local News

Friday, Feb 11 2011 11:27 AM

Crash shuts traffic on Highway 178 through canyon

  1. 1 of 7

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Bakersfield firefighter Michael Murphy extinguishes the U.S. Forest Service vehicle fire after hiking down the steep terrain in the Kern River Canyon on Friday. The driver was able to escape the vehicle and was airlifted out of the bottom of the canyon by Kern County Sheriff Helicopter, Air #5.

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  2. 2 of 7

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Two people passing by hiked down the steep terrain of the canyon, left, and right, who were the first ones to the accident victim, Friday, near the mouth of the Kern River Canyon. Kern County Fire personnel, Bakersfield Fire, Kern County Sheriff, U.S. Forest Service and California Highway Patrol were all on scene in the rescue after this U.S. Forest Service employee went off Highway 178 down the steep embankment, almost to the Kern River.

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  3. 3 of 7

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Emergency personnel get ready to hoist an accident victim out of the Kern River Canyon on Friday, by Kern County Sheriff Helicopter Air #5. The accident victim's vital signs were good, according to the Kern County Fire Department spokesperson. The two men, left and right, were passing by and aided in the dramatic rescue along with Kern County Fire, Bakersfield Fire and Hall Ambulance.

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  4. 4 of 7

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    A vehicle accident victim is hoisted out of the Kern River Canyon on Friday by a Kern County Sheriff deputy, attached to the cable hoisting them both up to safety. The U.S. Forest Service employee was in good condition, according to the Kern County Fire Department spokesperson on scene.

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  5. 5 of 7

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Kern County Sheriff Helicopter, Air #5, and deputies hoist a vehicle accident victim out of the Kern River Canyon, Friday, east of Bakersfield.

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  6. 6 of 7

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    A U.S. Forest Service truck burns after the driver went over the side of the Kern River Canyon, Friday. The Bakersfield Fire Department was able to extinguish the blaze, while the accident victim was hoisted out of the canyon by Kern County Sheriff Helicopter, Air #5 and taken to Kern Medical Center for evaluation.

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  7. 7 of 7

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Kern County Sheriff deputies load a vehicle accident victim into the helicopter, after he was rescued from the Kern River Canyon, Friday.

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

A U.S. Forest Service employee suffered moderate injuries Friday after the pickup he was driving went over the side of the road near the mouth of the Kern River Canyon and caught fire after crashing to the rocks below.

The driver was airlifted from rocks a few hundred feet from where the pickup fell about 10:30 a.m. He was the only person in the pickup.

Rev. Stephen “Fuzzy” Brown, a prison minister, said he was two vehicles behind the pickup on Highway 178 when he saw it suddenly swerve and go over the side.

“It was just a shock at first,” Brown said.

Several people were standing by the edge of the road watching as emergency personnel tended to the man. His name was not released.

Spectator Steve Lott said he arrived in the area shortly after the accident happened. He saw smoke through the brush where the pickup was burning until firefighters doused the blaze.

Lott said it was fascinating watching the firefighters and other personnel help the man and get him to safety.

The roadway was closed for more than an hour but cars were being let through as of noon. It was completely reopened at 4:26 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

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