Photo: Girl Braves Darkness, Wildlife to Get Help for Father After Car Crash
At around 1 a.m. Sunday morning a young girl and her father were driving home on a Southern California highway when the father lost control of the vehicle around a steep curve and it plunged off the side of the highway.
The Ford Escape rolled over a number of times, but 9-year-old Celia Renteria was able to free herself from the vehicle. She later told police that she smelled gas and turned off the engine.
Unable to get her unconscious father, Alejandro Renteria, 35, out of the vehicle, the girl walked about 1,000 feet to a nearby home. When she arrived at the home however, no one answered the door.
Celia then went back to the car to check on her father, but knowing they needed up, she hiked the 200-foot embankment up to the highway, hoping to make it to the nearby train station. Once she got back to the road, she was able to flag down a motorist who then called police.
Though the little girl did everything she could to save her father, by the time police were able to get to the vehicle, it was too late. Renteria had died.
Celia’s injuries were minor, only cuts and bruises, but officials say she was in definite danger even after she freed herself from the wreckage.
California Highway Patrol Sgt. Tom Lackey told CNN affiliate KABC, “She walked quite a distance in a very, very threatening environment. It’s very black out here, very dark. It’s very steep and it’s brushy and there’s also coyotes.”
Renteria and his daughter had just left a friend’s party and police believe alcohol may have been in a factor in the crash.
The girl will remain in the hospital under observation until Tuesday, her family said.