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A man was killed yesterday afternoon when his SUV was swept away in a raging flash flood in Joshua Tree. According to County Fire Captain Matt Anderson, the man, identified only as being in his 66 years old, was driving his Chevy Blazer on Sunny Vista when he encountered a line of vehicles that had stopped to let the floodwaters pass over the road at the wash, just north of Navajo Trail. Anderson said that bystanders told officials that the man tried to drive around the stopped vehicles, but his car became stuck in the mud. Bystanders said his SUV was stuck for about five minutes before a surge of floodwaters came down the wash shortly after 3:30 and carried his Blazer—with him inside it—down the wash, overturning it in the process. Anderson said that he and Engineer Travis Anway, who are stationed at Fire Station 41 in Yucca Valley, were on their way to assist with another flood-related call, when they were flagged down by bystanders who told them about the man in the overturned vehicle. Anderson said the man had been in the storm waters—which were 2 to 2 ½ feet deep—in his upside-down Blazer for about 5 minutes before they arrived on the scene. Before Anderson could get to the vehicle, a 5-foot surge of flood waters roared down the wash, flowing over the upside down Blazer. Due to all the water, mud, rocks, and debris inside the vehicle, Anderson was not able to free the driver from the SUV until about 4:15, by which time the man had already died.

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The flash flooding also caused much property damage in Joshua Tree. County Fire Captain John Garber said fire fighters received numerous calls from residents whose homes were being inundated by water and mud from storm waters. In the 61300 block of Rocky Vista a home was destroyed and a woman and her child barely escaped as the house collapsed. Highway 62 was closed due to flooding from Olympic to Park Boulevard, as was Alta Loma. The roads, which were covered not only with water, but with mud, rocks, and other debris, made travel difficult for motorists and fire fighters responding to calls, and Garber said fire fighters couldn’t even get to some calls because of the poor condition of the roads, and had to prioritize their responses.

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Both fire fighters and Sheriff officials said people don’t realize how powerful fast-moving water can be; six inches of water can knock over an adult, and two feet of water can carry off an SUV or pick-up truck. “In Joshua Tree, we lost a member of our community who got caught in the storm, in the flood waters,  and it actually killed him in his vehicle. So please, do not cross where there’s water running.”

Sheriff’s Captain Dale Mondary urged motorists to play it safe when they come to water running over the road. “We just want to caution people and remind them that if there’s water in the roadway, to not try to drive through that area, even if they’re familiar with the roadway, just in the event that the structure itself has been compromised.”
Turn around, don’t drown.

Due to the storms and road problems, the Morongo Unified School Board meeting scheduled for last night was cancelled.



According to the County Coroners Office, at 3:58 PM on 09/16/2014, the California Highway Patrol received a 911 call of a vehicle that was washed from the roadway by water during a flash flood. Fire and California Highway Patrol officers responded to the scene at Sunny Vista Road and Melton Trail, in Joshua Tree. Kyle Wyne, a 66 year old resident of Joshua Tree, was removed from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene at 4:15 PM. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the incident.

**UPDATE 2**

The county coroners office has updated their website and is now identifying the man as Karl Wyne

Z107.7 Joshua Tree News - Staff Reporters

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