The thought of your car flying off a cliff can sometimes invade your thoughts during an otherwise tranquil drive on a mountain road; but, the horror of such an event actually happening would likely be a living nightmare and hard to comprehend. Particularly, when the cliff is high, steep, and seemingly falls away thousands of feet to a valley floor and your life is literally hanging, or tumbling, in the balance.
Such was the case for a Los Angeles man named James Shaw Jr. who, just over a year ago, experienced his own, personal, car-goes-over-a-cliff nightmare which was all too real, as captured by the dash-cam of his Subaru Forester, reported the Huffington Post.
“One year ago, today, I almost died. Here is the video of the incident,” wrote Shaw Jr., who recently posted the footage and his recollections of his terrifying car-going-over-a-cliff experience on YouTube (below).
Shaw Jr. believes he very nearly lost his life when his Subaru spun out and went over the cliff, a few moments of pushing the limits on the high mountain Angeles Crest Highway above Los Angeles very nearly ending in indelible tragedy.
But with his life spared from his few moments of indiscretion, Shaw Jr. wanted to share his footage of the incident in hopes that “others learn from my mistakes,” later noting that he was extremely fortunate that his car was stopped from falling further down the cliff by a cliff-hanging culvert that couldn’t have been put in any better place as far as Shaw Jr. is concerned.
“I’m primarily posting this in an attempt to help others learn from my mistakes. This is a reminder to be safe, pay attention and KNOW THE ROAD before you try to enjoy it. I failed on all 3 of those accounts and it nearly cost me my life.”
Posting details of how his January 4, 2015, car-over-the-cliff accident unfolded, Shaw Jr. said he was simply going too fast on an unfamiliar road and became distracted.
As a car enthusiast, Shaw Jr. was enjoying speeding through a pair of mountain tunnels while also admiring the amplified effect the tunnels had on the sound of his exhaust, something he had done “many times before in other tunnels.”
Beyond this enjoyment at the end of the second tunnel, however, Shaw Jr. didn’t know that the road curved left, a fact that would soon trigger his harrowing car-going-over-a-cliff experience.
“At the exit, I could barely see because it was so bright, a person standing and holding something while motioning. Wondering what they were doing, I stared, and stared, reaching the top of 4th gear, all while trying to comprehend what they were trying to tell me. Then I figured it out. They were telling me to slow down and watch the curve ahead, but it was too late.”
Despite softly applying the brakes and counter-steering in an attempt to keep his Subaru from sliding out, his wheels lost traction, and the spinning, sliding course his car was taking toward going over the cliff was not to be stopped, not even by the berm on the cliff’s edge.
It surprised Shaw Jr. He expected the berm to stop him, but the worst of his journey still lay ahead with his car continuing over the cliff.
“It happened so fast all I can remember is everything crashing and spinning… I was confident I was going to land upside down and get crushed. I was on the world’s worst roller coaster that could only end with death, or so I thought. I came to a stop, still yelling, not fully comprehending what just happened, or how far down the mountain I was and that I actually just crashed my car.”
That’s where the miraculously placed culvert came in, despite the steep angle of the cliff and its falling away far below into a forested canyon, the concrete drainage duct caught Shaw Jr. and his Subaru and the plunge over the treacherous cliff came to a halt.
“Luckily for me, I landed on a rock wall that was part of a drainage pipe that went through the mountain. It was the only horizontally level piece on an extremely steep sloped hill. Had I spun off a few feet before or after, I’d be dead.”
Now a year since his car went over the L.A. mountain cliff, Shaw Jr. reflects that while he’s upset that he made the mistakes that led to his crash, he’s also “glad to be alive” and that no others were involved.
In the end, according to laist, Shaw Jr. emerged from the crash relatively unscathed and was able to scramble back up the cliff to the mountain highway. One of the first emergency personnel members to arrive on the scene was Lou Ferrigno, star of the 1970s and ’80s The Incredible Hulk television show. According to Shaw, Ferrigno told him he was so lucky that he should buy a lottery ticket.
With any luck, Shaw Jr.’s video can continue helping others drive carefully and thereby avoiding any similar car-over-a-cliff experiences.
[Video and Image via YouTube/James Shaw Jr.]