Two drunk women trying to free stuck car fall into canal, CHP officers run to the rescue

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Two drunk women trying to free stuck car fall into canal, CHP officers run to the rescue (KFSN)

On this desolate stretch of Avenue 152, a lonely pair of headlights and the sound of a humming engine are unexpected finds.

"It just piqued our interest, why it was sitting there in the middle of the night," said Officer Lee Bowden.

Officer Bowden says the question drew him and his partner Officer Salvador Arteaga to the banks of the Friant-Kern Canal this Wednesday.

"The door was open, there were two phones on the seat, two wallets in the car. It was just an odd situation," said Bowden.

The two CHP officers had no idea what they'd come across. They took out their flashlights, looked around for the driver, and then noticed sets of footprints leading to the water.

"We also observed a handprint that appeared someone had tried grabbing the embankment before falling into the canal," said Arteaga.

"We hear what we think is a scream and we are like oh, this might be for reals, maybe somebody really did fall in," added Bowden.

The farther these two partners walked down the canal, the louder the screams grew. They eventually ran a mile before finding one woman clutching to a clump of weeds and another exhausted, trying to pull herself out.

"The chance of them climbing out were pretty slim. Not only that but they were already tired from trying to stay afloat," said Arteaga.

It turns out the two women had quite a few drinks and had pulled over to relieve themselves when their car got stuck. After multiple failed attempts at a 3-point turn, they both fell into the rushing water.

"One bad decision led to another and it all started with too much alcohol," said Bowden.

Both women were treated for hypothermia. The driver was arrested. Officers say the DUI charge is likely far from the most traumatizing part of this lesson.
Related Topics:
drunk drivingwater rescuecalifornia highway patrolPorterville
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