10-mile stretch of vehicles stuck on State Route 58 in Tehachapi

ByABC7.com staff KABC logo
Saturday, October 17, 2015
Vehicles remain stuck in Tehachapi mud
EMBED <>More Videos

Nearly 200 vehicles remain stuck Friday on State Route 58 in Tehachapi after flash floods inundated cars with mud and debris in Kern County.

TEHACHAPI, Calif. (KABC) -- Hundreds of vehicles spanning approximately 10 miles are stuck Friday on State Route 58 near the 14 Freeway in Tehachapi due to flood road closures in the area.

The California Highway Patrol said there are a total of 192 vehicles stuck, including 115 passenger cars, 75 semi-trucks and two tour buses.

CHP Sgt. Mario Lopez said some of the cars have been stranded on the road since 6 p.m. Thursday. Kern County Search-and-Rescue crews were working to help people in need of aid. Multiple law enforcement agencies from Fresno to San Bernardino were also providing aid.

CHP advised motorists to take detours to avoid the area. On the Mojave side, drivers can take State Route 14 to the westbound State Route 178. State Route 14 is open heading south to the 5 Freeway, but it was severely bottlenecked Friday morning.

State Route 58 in Kern County near Mojave east of Tehachapi was expected to be shut down for a few days, the CHP said. There were 5 to 6 feet of mud and rocks still on the roadways.

Thursday's rain came down very hard starting around 5:30 p.m. Within about 20 minutes of severe showers, the CHP said they received 911 calls about a mudslide that was moving so fast, it immobilized around 200 vehicles.

The mud has since hardened, making it feel as hard as concrete. Search-and-rescue crews were probing the dirt amid concerns there may be people or cars under the mud. So far, there were no reports of any injuries or missing people.

Witnesses described the mudslide as a fast-moving river.

"Intense, real hard rain, and then my student said, 'The mountain is coming down behind us.' I looked out the mirror and the mudslide was just coming at us just as hard as it could be," said David Noe, a truck driver.

Lopez said rain hits the region again, he plans on clearing out any CHP personnel stationed in the area just in case more dangerous flash flooding occurs.

Eyewitness News viewer Jose Vargas sent video he captured from inside his tractor trailer. In the footage, Vargas is heard screaming for help as flash flooding washes away several cars ahead of him on State Route 58.

Vargas and dozens of other people spent the night stuck in the Tehachapi Pass area.

Vargas also posted video around 5 a.m. showing his rescue. The footage shows Vargas and several people filling up a bus, which took him to a shelter set up by Red Cross at Monroe Continuation School in Tehachapi.

PHOTOS: Flash flooding sparks dangerous mud flow