Caltrans workers discover vehicle over embankment, save victims and dogs

Photo courtesy of Caltrans District 2

Three Caltrans maintenance workers from the Platina area are being recognized for saving victims of a car crash, and their dogs, after they found the vehicle over an embankment on Highway 36W.

According to the Caltrans District 2 Facebook page, the three men, Dave Britt, Lonnie Swartout, and Ben Anderson, discovered the vehicle on March 1 in heavy snow and 25 degree weather. The three men rendered first aid and provided the victims with pieces of their own clothing to keep them warm.

The men also freed two puppies who were trapped in the vehicle.

Britt, Swartout, and Anderson stayed on scene for hours, under dressed in the cold, to make sure they could do whatever they could to help the situation.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the 65-year-old man driving the vehicle was transported by ambulance with broken ribs and vertebras. His passenger, a 50-year-old woman, suffered a cut to her right cheek and cuts on her arms. Both people in the vehicle are from Hayfork.

Officials said the man was traveling on Highway 36 going westbound at about 30 mph west of Wildwood when he turned his vehicle for the curve ahead. Officials said due to his unsafe speed for the roadway conditions, he lost control of his vehicle causing it to slide off the road, travel through a snowbank, and then go down a steep embankment.

When the vehicle hit the snowbank, it rolled over and spun around. The vehicle traveled down the embankment until the rear of it collided with a tree.

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