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Bass Lake Crash Could Have Been So Much Worse

BASS LAKE – What was already a terrible accident could have turned into a tragedy, had it not been for the keen eyes and smart decision of two Bass Lake Water Company employees.

Eric Shearer and Shanti Rogers were on duty for the water company this morning, Jan. 15, headed down Road 274 near Bass Lake.

Skid Marks on Road 274

As they neared the bridge over Willow Creek, which they cross many times a day during the course of their work, they noticed some skid marks in the recently sanded road, ending at the shoulder of the road.

The two men went back to the spot to investigate, and looking over the very steep embankment, they saw a silver 1998 Ford Contour resting on its driver’s side, the contents of the car strewn all around the vehicle.

Steep embankment at Willow CreekThey also saw Shari Delp, resident of Oakhurst, and Indian Ed Tutor at Mountain Oaks High School, sitting in the detritus next to the car. It was not clear to them whether she had managed to climb out of the vehicle, or had been thrown clear during the crash.

They scrambled down the steep hill, and found that Delp had a very large contusion on her head, and blood on her cut hands. They called 911 and waited for emergency personnel to arrive.

Wrecker pulls Ford up from Willow Creek“We didn’t want to move her,” said Shearer. “She was sitting there in the broken glass, so we just stayed with her. The CHP and paramedics were here within five minutes.”

Both men said Delp seemed to be rather dazed. “She didn’t know what date it was, but she did know her name,” they said.

Ford Contour on the wrecker at Willow Creek BridgeDelp had been traveling eastbound on Road 274 at about 1 p.m. when she apparently took the corner at the bridge at too high a rate of speed, then over-corrected and slid back across the road and over the embankment.

The road had been recently sanded due to icy conditions the past few days, and the marks left in the sand by her tires were the clues that directed Shearer and Rogers to the wreck.

Eric Shearer and Shanti RogersThe car would most likely have ended up in the icy water and the huge boulders of Willow Creek, had it not slid straight into a tree, which stopped it’s descent. It also would not have been seen by anyone driving by, so the fact the Shearer and Rogers noticed the marks in the road, and went back to check could certainly have kept this story from having a very bad ending.

Skylife Helicopter airlifting accident victim from Bass Lake Mini-StorageDelp was transported by Sierra Ambulance to a Skylife helicopter, which had landed in a cul-de-sac at the Bass Lake Mini Storage property about a mile away. She was flown to the trauma center at Regional Medical Center in Fresno.

Bass Lake Engine #14, Oakhurst Engine #12, Cedar Valley Engine #18, CHP and Sierra Ambulance responded to the scene, along with Doc’s Towing.

6 comments

  1. Great work GUYS! Says “hero” in my book!

  2. way to go….we all need to look out for each other !

  3. Thank you to these heroes and to all the guardian angels who let us keep our dear, kind, loving, beautiful and precious sister Shari!! We can’t imagine life without her and thank you all for getting her safely home. We are all praying for her continued recovery from such a traumatic accident.

  4. Coreen Mulligan-Simpkins

    Thank you for taking the time to stop guys! We would have missed her dearly!

  5. Shari Mulligan Delp

    I am so glad that I survived this accident and am now at home recovering…After seeing these photos and speaking with some othose whom heloed me that day, I remain in awe of the caring and vigilant guardian angels whom were there for me in my hour of need! Thank you immensely! The Highway Patrol officers have said that it’s also incredible how I got myself out of that rear back window on my own and with the injuries I had…miracles DO happen every day!!! This is one of those life-changing, amazing stories that, in my opinion, can only further convince one that there is a God looking out for all of us. It’s so apparent that everyday people are out there trying to make a difference and be of service to others. In return for the benevolence and kindness shown to me, I plan to do my best to do the same for others given the opportunity for the rest of my life…I am so grateful to be alive!!!

  6. Does anyone out there know of someone else or others whom was also injured in a car accident while crossing the willow Creek Bridge on Hwy 274 in Bass Lake? Many people have mentioned that they knew of others, some hurt and someone deceased after falling all the way down to Angel Falls, etc. I would really appreciate any more info. anyone would have…Many thanks for all of the kind words posted so far… and I feel lucky to have such nice, caring people living amongst us in our mountain community!

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