A 48-year-old man in Southern California killed in a flash flood in the San Bernardino County mountains was a father of two who loved the outdoors, family and friends said Monday.
Joo-Hwan Lee of El Segundo was in Mt. Baldy during a summer storm on Sunday when his car was swept off a road and into a creek, leaving him dead inside, sheriff’s officials said.
“He was a very active person and he was such a good man,” said Lee’s friend as he held back tears. “I feel so sorry, (I’m) missing him. He was my best friend.”
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Lee’s 13-year-old son said his father enjoyed hiking every weekend and was hiking with friends Sunday but decided to leave early as heavy downpours hit the mountain community.
Lee’s neighbor, Michael Leyva, said he was in disbelief when he learned of his death.
“I woke up and I turn on the news like I always do. Lee from El Segundo? That can’t be my neighbor,” Leyva said.
In addition to a son, Lee leaves behind a 10-year-old daughter.
“They were nice kids. Played with their little scooters and stuff. Now their dad is gone,” Leyva said.
Storm waters caused flooding in many areas of Southern California on Sunday. Emergency crews spent the day performing rescues and evacuations in the mountains and searching for potential victims who could be trapped in vehicles submerged in debris and mud.