Skid Marks Lead Caltrans Supervisor to Driver Trapped on Gorge

Unbeknownst to authorities, a driver had crashed off northbound Interstate 15 in Escondido the night before a Caltrans staffer came upon the wreckage

A very observant Caltrans supervisor helped rescue an injured driver trapped in a wreck 200 feet down a gorge in north San Diego after he noticed skid marks across the freeway leading off the roadway’s edge.

Officials with Caltrans District 11 in San Diego County said Caltrans Maintenance Supervisor Brian “Andy” Villalobos, who works with the Escondido Travel Way Crew, was driving northbound on Interstate 15 north of Gopher Canyon Road on Wednesday afternoon when he noticed something strange on the road – a roadway he knows all too well.

Villalobos spotted what appeared to be fresh skid marks on the freeway. The marks went across the freeway and continued toward the edge of the road.

Villalobos soon realized that when he traveled that roadway the day before, those skid marks were not there. He pulled over to investigate.

When Villalobos walked to the edge of the freeway and looked down into a gorge below, he spotted a mangled car – which was barely visible – about 200 feet down at the bottom of the gorge.

Inside the wreck was a driver – still alive, but trapped and seriously injured.

Villalobos called authorities for help. The driver was rescued from the wreckage.

According to investigators, the driver, for unknown reasons, lost control of his car the night before and crashed off the side of the freeway, unbeknownst to anyone.

Caltrans Maintenance Area Superintendent Michael Moeck praised Villalobos’ quick thinking, which helped save the driver’s life.

“This victim and his vehicle were not visible to anyone from the freeway and I have no doubts that if Andy had not stopped to investigate, the driver would have perished alone in his vehicle and would not have been discovered for weeks or months to come,” said Moeck.

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