‘The sound I heard was a crash’: Residents recount accident involving actor Anne Heche

Firefighters work the site where actor Anne Heche crashed her car into a house
Firefighters work the site where actor Anne Heche is reported to have crashed her car into a house in Mar Vista on Friday.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

David Manpearl was sitting at his desk Friday morning at his Mar Vista home when he saw a car speeding by his window.

Seconds later, he heard a loud thud.

“It took me one or two seconds to put together that the sound I heard was a crash,” he said. “I ran out the door and down the street to find out where the crash was and see if anyone needed help.”

The occupant and driver of the Mini Cooper would later be identified as actor Anne Heche, 53. Heche suffered significant burns and slipped into a coma after the crash, a representative told The Times on Monday.


She is now the subject of a driving-under-the-influence and hit-and-run investigation in connection with the incident.

After suffering burns in a car crash, Anne Heche faces an investigation in connection with a possible DUI and hit-and-run.

Aug. 8, 2022

At some point before the accident in Mar Vista, Heche was reportedly seen crashing into a garage of an apartment building before driving off, TMZ reported.

Los Angeles Police Department officials said detectives obtained a search warrant to obtain a sample of Heche’s blood.

Three days later, Manpearl recounted the crash’s aftermath.

When he arrived at the scene, he said he found the front wall of a house missing and debris everywhere. He said Heche’s car had gone all the way through the house and was lodged in a wall in the back. He said he went inside the house and found its tenant standing in the middle of what was left of her kitchen, barefoot, asking for help with her tortoise and two dogs.

“She couldn’t move because the ceiling had come down so there was all kinds of debris everywhere,” Manpearl said. He and another neighbor helped the neighbor to safety.

Actor Anne Heche crashed her car and set off a house fire Friday in L.A.’s Mar Vista neighborhood, TMZ reported.

Aug. 6, 2022

Trevor Colbert, who lives across the street, also ran outside after he heard the crash and saw a hole in his neighbor’s house. He said he went back inside and grabbed a fire extinguisher and returned to find his neighbor on her front lawn.


“She came out carrying one of her pets, and she seemed pretty rattled,” Colbert said. “She wasn’t really saying much. I think she was in shock.”

After making sure the tenant was safe, Manpearl said he went back into the house to try to help Heche, who was still stuck in the car.

“It got to a point where there was fire everywhere. It was all around us,” he said. “It had spread from the car to the house and the smoke was getting thick. I kept hoping that the fire department was there, but it hadn’t come yet, and eventually I had to leave the house for my own safety.”

A half-hour before crashing into a Mar Vista home, Anne Heche stopped by a Venice hair salon to buy a bright red wig — because the blue one was taken.

Aug. 8, 2022

Colbert said he also attempted to help the driver but left as the situation became too dangerous.

“We knew that someone was still in there. You could kind of hear her making some noises,” he said. “When 30 minutes had passed and I still didn’t see a gurney go in, I thought she was dead.”

By this point, most neighborhood residents had come out of their houses to see what was going on. Some were trying to help put out the flames with their garden hoses or fire extinguishers, but Manpearl said it wasn’t working.


Manpearl then brought the tenant back to his house, where neighbors brought her shoes and items for her pets.

“I had never met her before, but that didn’t matter,” he said. “She’s still a neighbor. It was just what I needed to do.”

On Monday, the scene still bore scars of the crash as the hedge in front of the house had collapsed and the lawn was littered with a furry white pillow, a navy couch, pieces of wall and bricks.

The front door has been boarded up, and the home is surrounded by yellow caution tape.