DMV Records Show LA Man Owned Car Found in Ravine - NBC Southern California

DMV Records Show LA Man Owned Car Found in Ravine



    A man rescued six days after his car went off a cliff in the Angeles National Forest is hospitalized with numerous fractures. A second man found dead at the scene in another car is identified. (Published Friday, Sept. 30, 2011)

    The owner of a second vehicle discovered at the bottom of a ravine was registered to a Los Angeles man police reported missing earlier this month, according to DMV records.

    The vehicle's owner, 88-year-old Melvin Gelfand, was last seen on Sept. 14 about 8 a.m., according to a Sept. 15 LAPD news release.

    Family members have confirmed the car belonged to Gelfand. And although the coroner has not made a positive identification of the body found inside, the family does think it is the missing man.

    "We just wanted to thank that courageous family that found their father alive and thank God that they did," said Gelfand's son-in-law, Will Matlack. "We hope to meet with them and maybe join with them in trying to make this road safer. Because, you know, how many cars have to run off this road a week? One or two a week? Should that be enough to make it a safer road? I would think so. So that's one of the things we're focusing on now."

    DMV Records Show LA Man Owned Car Found in Ravine

    [LA] DMV Records Show LA Man Owned Car Found in Ravine
    Melvin Gelfand went missing earlier this month. On Thursday night, his vehicle was found at the bottom of a ravine off Lake Hughes Road.
    (Published Friday, Sept. 30, 2011)

    Police said Gelfand was heading to Valley View Casino in San Diego before he went missing. Records show he never boarded his bus or used his player's card at the casino, according to police.

    Police found the second vehicle after rescuing 67-year-old Dave LaVau, a retired cable employee whose car plunged 200 feet off Lake Hughes Road and landed in the ravine.

    LaVau survived six days before being rescued.

    Father Rescued by Children After Plunging Into Ravine

    [LA] Father Rescued by Children After Plunging Into Ravine
    Knowing that the police were limited in time and resources, the LaVau family conducted their own investigation and found their 67-year-old father who had crashed off the side of curvy mountain road in the Angeles Forest.
    (Published Friday, Sept. 30, 2011)

    Man Doing Well Despite Six-Day Ordeal

    A 67-year-old Lake Hughes man is reportedly doing well at a Valencia hospital despite spending six days down a ravine after his car plunged off a mountain road in the Angeles National Forest.

    An ER doctor at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital attributed LaVau's survival in part to his strong family ties.

    "He has extraordinary will to live and his family members were incredibly supportive and very thankful to see him alive and doing well," said Dr. Garrett Sutter.

    He disappeared nearly a week ago while returning from a trip to Oxnard. On Friday night, he lost control of his car while in winding Lake Hughes Road and plunged 200 feet down a ravine.

    His car landed next to another vehicle that had been down the ravine for a longer period of time. Inside that vehicle was a decomposing body.

    Family Describes Rescue Six Days After Man's Crash Off Cliff

    [LA] Family Describes Rescue Six Days After Man's Crash Off Cliff
    They found him in the Angeles National Forest.
    (Published Friday, Sept. 30, 2011)

    When LaVau's family failed to hear from the retired cable employee for several days, they filed a missing persons report.

    They worked with a detective to narrow the search area using cell phone towers, text messages and debit card purchases.

    Then, LaVau's children began their own grid searches and they found him Thursday night.

    "He's doing really good," said Lisa LaVau, even though her father suffered a broken arm, ribs, vertebrae and a dislocated shoulder.

    "He's doing more amazing than anyone in a situation like that," chimed in Sean LaVau, her brother who actually found his father down the ravine.

    Lisa LaVau said it wasn't even real that their father had been gone that long, describing it as "an-out-of-body experience."

    Other family members agreed it was a miracle that David LaVau was found alive.

    He survived by eating leaves, grass and ants and drinking water from a nearby stream.

    The Los Angeles County Fire Department's USAR urban search and rescue team was sent in Friday to help recover the body in the second vehicle.

    Meanwhile, the California Highway Patrol is investigating both accidents.

    They occurred at a stretch of the road where there've been at least two similar accidents in the past.

    One officer described it was "a bad stretch of road."

    Despite his injuries, David LaVau is expected to spend just three or four more days in the Valencia hospital.

    Follow NBCLA for the latest LA news, events and entertainment: Twitter: @NBCLA // Facebook: NBCLA