Survivor of horrific 1997 SoCal chase crash reunites with man who saved her

Leo Stallworth Image
Thursday, March 7, 2024
Survivor of horrific 1997 SoCal chase crash reunited with rescuer
It was a tearful reunion when a woman met with the man who saved her life from a crash in San Fernando nearly three decades ago.

SAN FERNANDO, Calif. (KABC) -- A woman was reunited with the man who saved her life after she and her mother were hit by a suspect fleeing from police in San Fernando nearly three decades ago.

"My mom was driving. We had just dropped my friend off... so we were just struck out of nowhere," Rebecca Anderson recalled.

In 1997, Anderson and her mother were suddenly caught up in a high-speed pursuit involving suspects in a stolen car. The suspect's car slammed into their car, killing her mother.

Anderson, who was 25 years old at the time, was trapped in the car that burst into flames. Daniel Mena, an off-duty police officer, happened to witness the horrible crash and rushed to her aid.

Risking his own life, he somehow managed to pull her out of the vehicle.

She was unconscious at the time and didn't know who saved her life until Mena sent her a letter just over a month ago.

"Quite frequently, I was wondering what happened to her and I was just happy that she responded," he said.

"Out of nowhere, I received this letter. It took me a lot to process and finally I called him back and he explained the whole story to me on how he saved my life," Anderson said.

For Anderson, it was like meeting her guardian angel for the first time. She even created a T-shirt to wear for their emotional meeting. It features angel wings, Daniel's name and the words: "God sent me an Angel on this day, October 14, 1997."

"I just thought it would be special as something for me to hold on to... and I would like to get him a shirt as well. I have him in my phone as Daniel Mena, my angel."

Speaking through thick emotion, Mena said: "It's not every day you're able to help somebody to this degree."

Anderson and Mena vowed that this will be the first of many get-togethers they'll share.