On the night of Saturday, July 24, 2021, Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) troopers and Rincon Valley Fire District responded to a single-vehicle collision on eastbound Interstate 10 at milepost 282 in Vail. The driver of a Honda Civic lost control of her vehicle in a heavy rainstorm, causing the car to strike a fence before jumping a culvert. The vehicle landed on the other side of a wash and rolled before hitting a tree, coming to rest on its passenger side and catching fire.
Realizing the vehicle was on fire, the driver managed to climb out on top of the car through the driver’s side door. She then jumped down, landing in a fast-moving wash she hadn’t seen flowing beside the vehicle. The rushing water swept her into a concrete culvert and under the interstate, carrying her about 300 yards until she was able to grab hold of a tree branch.
After struggling for 10 to 15 minutes, she was finally able to pull herself out of the water and begin walking towards the interstate. A good Samaritan gave her a ride back to the crash scene, where she was medically evaluated and, fortunately, was found to have only minor injuries.
While this is a remarkable story of survival, it’s also a great example of why troopers advise motorists to slow down in wet weather. Just a small amount of water on the road is all it takes to make a vehicle hydroplane.
With more monsoon weather in the forecast for Arizona this week, please take time to prepare your vehicle, use caution on the road, and always buckle up!