A Rialto city councilman paralyzed from the waist down survives a bizarre crash down a 30-foot embankment that knocked him unconscious for 11 hours in the cold. Gadi Schwartz reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Dec. 11, 2013.
A Southern California city councilman who is paralyzed from the waist down survived a bizarre crash down a 30-foot embankment that left him unconscious for 11 hours with barely any access to emergency help.
Rialto Councilman Shawn O’Connell was driving to a friend’s home in the high desert to get some adjustments done on his wheelchair when he careened his specially tailored car off a 30-foot embankment off the 15 Freeway in Devore, police told NBC4.
The 2 a.m. crash knocked O’Connell unconscious for 11 hours in the cold. When former police sergeant awoke, he did not have any cellphone service so he drove his smashed vehicle over a fence and into a field of brush until his car became stuck in mud (pictured below).
With just 3 percent battery left on his phone, O’Connell called 911 and was rescued Wednesday.
The city leader was taken to the hospital with internal injuries, including a bruised lung and a cracked vertebra. He remained hospitalized Wednesday.
He drives a car totally controlled from the steering wheel. The California Highway Patrol is investigating what caused the crash.