OAKHURST — At 10:52 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7, emergency crews responded to reports of a vehicle that had driven off the side of the road, and overturned into the swift moving water of China Creek.
According to CHP at the scene, the SUV was traveling eastbound on Road 426 approaching Road 425B when, for unknown reasons, it left the roadway and rolled down a steep embankment, coming to rest upside down at the edge of the creek in several feet of water.
The vehicle was driven by a 16-year-old female, according to CHP. Her 17-year-old sister was a passenger and was able to extricate herself and climb up onto the roadway, flagging down a passing motorist who called 911.
The driver was trapped while firefighters performed a cold water rescue, working in the heavy rain to free her from the overturned vehicle and carry her up the steep embankment to a waiting ambulance. She was extricated at 11:22 p.m.
Both girls were transported by Sierra Ambulance to a Valley hospital. The passenger appeared to have suffered minor injuries, but the driver was in serious condition, and was later pronounced deceased at the hospital. The exact cause of death in unknown at this time.
The accident is under investigation.