Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

Woman drives Mercedes down Verdugo Wash channel

Verdugo wash.
A woman who drove in the Verdugo wash and stopped after going over 9 3-foot steps just before the L.A. River is taken away on a backboard by Glendale Fire Dept. personnel to a waiting ambulance in the wash at San Fernando Blvd. in Glendale on Thursday, January 26, 2012. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)

Glendale police and public works crews decided to bring in a crane during the rush hour commute to hoist the sedan out due to the slippery conditions in the channel caused by flowing water.


FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was working to remove the car from the wash. In fact, it was Glendale police and public works crews.



The woman, who wasn’t immediately identified, entered the wash about 11 a.m. after reportedly confusing the concrete-lined channel for a freeway on-ramp, officials said. About a mile later, and after reaching speeds of up to 70 mph, the woman finally stopped after barreling down several 3-foot long steps.

She stopped before reaching a steep drop-off in the channel near San Fernando Road after being hailed down by maintenance workers, who she whizzed by at freeway speeds.

Problem is, the Mercedes came to rest below a bridge for train tracks used by Metrolink commuter trains, complicating the possibility of using a crane to pull the sedan out.

Crews can’t move the car backward due to the set of stairs, or forward because there is an 8-foot drop, Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said. Engineers are contemplating whether to shut down nearby train tracks and San Fernando Road if they use the crane, he said, although no decision on the method or time of day had been reached.


Surrounding neighborhoods will be notified of any road closures if they’re needed, Lorenz said.

Hazmat crews were on the scene to make sure none of the car’s fluids leak into the water.

The woman, a Glendale resident, was taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation after complaining of back pain. Lorenz said she didn’t appear to be under the influence of alcohol.

“Right now, it’s unexplainable,” he said.

-- Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA

Photo: Rescuers tend to a woman who managed to drive her Mercedes down a concrete-lined portion of the Verdugo Wash Thursday, Jan. 26. Credit: Raul Roa / Times Community News