Auto Flies Off Orange Freeway Into Yard


Two cars simultaneously changing into the same lane on the Orange Freeway set off a chain reaction Monday that caused another car to overturn and become airborne before landing in a residential backyard 60 feet away, California Highway Patrol officials said.

“My mom just came in from the garden and all of a sudden, it’s like a bomb dropped right in our backyard,” said Vo Nghia, 29, owner of the house where the car landed.

The accident, which left three people with minor injuries and backed up traffic for three hours, began when a Chevrolet Camaro in the carpool lane and a Chevrolet Cavalier in the No. 2 lane both tried to merge into the fast lane.


Laura Taylor, 20, of Etiwanda swerved her Cavalier back into the No. 2 lane to avoid a collision, but rear-ended a Ford Thunderbird, according to CHP Officer Todd Koehler.

Taylor then lost control of her car, crossing four lanes of southbound traffic before resting horizontally on the freeway, he said. The driver suffered minor cuts.

Meanwhile, Theodora Asfour of Yorba Linda broadsided the sideways Cavalier with her Jeep Grand Cherokee, Koehler said.

Asfour, 33, who was driving, and her husband, Ramsey, 41, sustained cuts and bruises. Their children, 2 and 4, who were riding in the back, were uninjured.

After the Jeep hit Taylor’s vehicle, authorities said it swerved onto an overpass embankment, jumped a 12-foot sound wall, flipped, bore through a 10-foot block wall, snapped an electrical pole in half and came to rest in Nghia’s backyard in the 700 block of Mancos Place.

Somehow, none of the Asfours sustained further injury.

“They are very lucky,” said Koehler, the investigating officer. “They all came away in fairly good shape. Everyone got out OK.”


The unidentified driver of the Camaro left the scene, Koehler said. The driver of the Ford that was rear-ended, Julie Hoogesteger, was not hurt.

Nghia, who has lived next to the freeway for nine years, said this is not the first time a car wreck has damaged his property.

“Last time, it was like transmission parts coming through the window,” Nghia said. “This one is worse. The whole car was inside our yard.”

The car bulldozed a hole through the wall on the side of Nghia’s house, destroyed a vegetable garden, leveled some sugar cane and knocked out electricity for a couple of hours.

“Our backyard is a mess,” he said. “Somehow, the freeway remained in perfect shape.”

The recurring incidents, however, won’t make him move, he said.

“It’s just an accident,” Nghia said. “It could happen anywhere.”

The crash remains under investigation. Koehler has asked witnesses to call him at (714) 547-8311.