A frantic call to 911 from a full minivan hurtling out of control is shedding some light on a crash that killed one person Dec. 29.
The reason the vehicle went out of control is still under investigation.
“They’re looking at all the systems in the vehicle to see if there was a failure,” CHP Lt. Andy Williams said.
The crash happened 1.5 miles from the Gold Run off ramp on westbound I-80. Eight people were inside.
The minivan ultimately collided with another car before it caught fire. One person was killed, two were air-lifted to an area hospital for medical treatment and another two were transported by ambulance.
Before police could do anything to prevent the fatal collision and fire that would bring the terrifying trip to an end, the phone went dead.
But that passenger who called helped police by giving them some basic information before the wreck.
If you’re ever in a similar situation, and you can’t stop your car, police say the first rule is don’t panic.
The driver should make certain there is nothing on the floor, like a toy or a floor-mat, keeping the gas pedal down or the brake pedal up.
If the pedals are clear, make certain your foot is off the gas and then try to shift out of drive.
“The best way, ultimately, to stop a car that you can’t stop is to shift it out of gear into neutral,” Lt. Williams said.
Don’t just turn the car key off; that will lock the steering wheel.
And don’t use the emergency break unless you absolutely have to; that’ll likely lock your tires and spin you out of control.