Man almost drives off PCH into ocean after mud, rock slide

Man almost takes a dive into Pacific -- in his car -- after debris comes down on PCH during storm early Friday

Branduinn Fullove almost took a dive into the Pacific Ocean – in his car – after mud, rocks the size of recliners and tree stumps came down Friday morning on Pacific Coast Highway.

Fullove, 34, had left his Sherman Oaks home in the wee hours, headed to Santa Barbara for the weekend.

He was driving north on PCH in Ventura County when it started raining hard as he drove near Sycamore Canyon. In an ominous sign, a barrier that had been against the hillside was pushed into his lane.

Then the torrent of water, mud, rocks and huge tree stumps poured onto the highway, pushing Fullove's car toward the ocean on the four-lane highway.

"I just thought for sure I was going over the edge," he said.

He hit his brakes while traveling about 40 mph.

"Nothing happened and I turned 90 degrees left,” Fullove said. “It was almost like I was on ice and the wheels weren't on the ground."

He started praying as his Honda Accord was pushed toward the ocean. It finally came to rest just feet before going over. Ironically, Fullove was probably saved because his car got stuck in mud from the rain.  

"I'm really excited to be alive right now," Fullove said as he sat in the Ventura County Fire Department station on PCH on Friday morning.

At one point this morning there were about seven people at the fire station, all stranded by about three different mudslides that occurred in the hills above PCH.

One man was taken to a hospital. He had been driving a white Mustang that got trapped and he was being treated for hypothermia, official said.

Fullove called 911 but rescuers did not come for several hours. He ended up waiting in the cab of a truck that was forced to stop because of all the mud.

Natalie Hogan was riding in the backseat of her boyfriend's Saturn early Friday morning when all of a sudden, huge rocks and mud came down PCH near the Ventura-Los Angeles County line. The musician and a friend were driving north toward their home in Oxnard after playing a gig in Long Beach.

Hogan said the large rocks hit the bottom of their car and almost went up through the floorboard.

She said the rain was coming down so hard they couldn't see anything. The car stopped and all they could hear was the sound of pounding rain and rocks tumbling down the hill.

"We knew we couldn't stay in the car in case the whole hill came down," Hogan said.

They got out of the car and began walking, eventually making it to Neptune's Net, a local fish restaurant where fire officials found them.

Twitter: @amcovarrubias

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