Crash of water and a terrifying ride: Driver glad he's alive - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Crash of water and a terrifying ride: Driver glad he's alive

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) - A driver who rode a wave of muddy water down a twisting street in his car during a Southern California flood said he is lucky to be alive.

"I just got pushed down the side of a hill by a wall of water and mud," Desionne Franklin said in an Instagram video after Tuesday's terrifying ride. "Rocks flowing, mud flowing everywhere. Barely made it out."

Franklin, 44, and his girlfriend evacuated a friend's home in the city of Burbank where they were staying as waves of storm runoff began pouring down a steep foothill street near hiking trails and a golf course. Water, rocks and mud cascaded down from mountains stripped bare of soil-stabilizing brush by a recent wildfire.

Franklin, who is from Dallas, said he heard rumbling around 6 a.m. Tuesday and saw something he'd never seen before: "river rapids in the middle of a residential street."

But then the rain stopped and the water receded.

"I went back to sleep, not thinking about it," he said Thursday.

Hours later, however, Franklin was told the neighborhood might be in danger and was being evacuated. He and his friend packed their cars and shoveled away several feet of mud that was caked in front of the driveway.

Then, a neighbor reported that rocks and small boulders were beginning to fall farther up the hill.

Franklin said he told everyone, "'We've got to go now.' I was a little frantic."

He said his friend packed his daughter and three cats in a car and left. Franklin and his girlfriend left in a gray Prius.

Franklin drove slowly down the steep, curving road through waves of rock-laden, muddy water. The brakes did little good as the wheels skidded on rubble, the steering wheel shuddered and the surging current pushed at the car.

Then, a wave of water crashed into the back of the car.

"My girlfriend was screaming at the top of her lungs: 'Go, go, go! We've got to get out of here!'" Franklin said.

"There was barely any traction," he said. "Then the hydroplaning started. I was completely at the mercy of the flow of the water."

Video by a local firefighters' union showed the car sweeping down and around a curve on the cascade. For 30 seconds, Franklin lost all control of the car before regaining a little traction.

"'Oh, this might be how it ends,'" he said he thought.

On the way, Franklin saw other, mangled cars that had been swept away.

"They looked like wadded-up pieces of paper," he said. "It was terrible."

At last, the Prius made it to the bottom of the hill. Franklin said he and his girlfriend looked at each other and "just sat there, speechless."

Remarkably, nobody was hurt in the flooding. The Prius, which Franklin recently had leased, came away with only a few scratches.

"I love the car now," Franklin said. "It got us through hell and high water, literally."

___

This story has been corrected to show that the video was made Tuesday, not Thursday.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • 'Watching my family burn': Woman frantic after copter crash

    'Watching my family burn': Woman frantic after copter crash

    Friday, January 19 2018 2:34 AM EST2018-01-19 07:34:49 GMT
    Friday, January 19 2018 8:28 PM EST2018-01-20 01:28:29 GMT
    Investigators will comb through the charred wreckage in search for clues as to why the helicopter carrying the group of prominent friends went down after dark Wednesday.
    Investigators will comb through the charred wreckage in search for clues as to why the helicopter carrying the group of prominent friends went down after dark Wednesday.
  • Mattis says US competitive warfighting edge has eroded

    Mattis says US competitive warfighting edge has eroded

    Friday, January 19 2018 10:05 AM EST2018-01-19 15:05:12 GMT
    Friday, January 19 2018 8:20 PM EST2018-01-20 01:20:09 GMT
    The Pentagon says countering China's rapidly expanding military and an increasingly aggressive Russia are now the U.S. military's top national security priorities, outpacing the threat of terrorism.
    The Pentagon says countering China's rapidly expanding military and an increasingly aggressive Russia are now the U.S. military's top national security priorities, outpacing the threat of terrorism.
  • Pope to indigenous: Amazon is 'heart of the church'

    Pope to indigenous: Amazon is 'heart of the church'

    Friday, January 19 2018 12:15 AM EST2018-01-19 05:15:05 GMT
    Friday, January 19 2018 8:20 PM EST2018-01-20 01:20:02 GMT
    After lengthy treks through the muddy Amazon, indigenous men, women and children will greet Pope Francis Friday in a visit to the world's largest rainforest that indigenous leaders hope will mark a turning point...
    After lengthy treks through the muddy Amazon, indigenous men, women and children will greet Pope Francis Friday in a visit to the world's largest rainforest that indigenous leaders hope will mark a turning point for the increasingly threatened ecosystem.
Powered by Frankly