Video captures failed attempt to rescue motorist in flaming car wreck


As flames engulfed the twisted car wreck, bystanders used a sledgehammer and sticks to smash its windows — all in a desperate attempt to save the doomed motorist.

Video taken at the scene of a fatal wreck in Lake Elsinore on Sunday reveals the heroic yet futile efforts of a crowd of Samaritans who tried to free the car’s driver.

The crash was reported at 7:27 p.m. on Railroad Canyon Road at Church Street, Tawny Cabral of the Riverside County Fire Department said.


The Honda sedan had struck a utility pole and burst into flames. One person was killed and another suffered minor injuries, authorities said. The driver, who was described only as a 19-year-old Lake Elsinore man, was the sole occupant of the vehicle, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Although the cause of the crash is still under investigation, authorities said they are exploring the possibility that racing was involved.

“We’re definitely not ruling it out,” said Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Vasquez. “That’s something everybody’s been asking.”

Anyone who may have information about this crash is encouraged to contact Officer Petersen of the Lake Elsinore Police Department at (951) 245-3300.

City News Service contributed to this report.


2:10 p.m.: This post was updated with additional details about the driver.

This article was originally published at 1:45 p.m.