Mill Creek under Highway 38: March 1 2014
By Guy McCarthy
Welcome back to Watershed News. I let the site go dormant the past three years I was at Patch. If this is your first visit, thanks for checking in.
Yesterday I saw a video of storm runoff in Mill Creek roaring through the narrows under the SR 38 bridge below Mountain Home Village.
The National Weather Service estimates 8.58 inches of rain hit Yucaipa Ridge during a 24-hour period that ended at 9 p.m. Feb. 28.
The place under the bridge looked and sounded a lot different today. It was still raining a bit, enough to soak me, but it was quiet and peaceful compared to Friday.
Further up Mill Creek it was snowing in Forest Falls.
Elkhorn General Store has a sign outside stating "Elevation 6,000 ft." Two residents went into the store and one of them had a chihuahua mix wrapped in a blanket.
I spoke briefly just before 2 p.m. with two volunteers with San Gorgonio Search and Rescue, who said the day had been quiet so far.
Back down Mill Creek, below the bridge and near Fish Hatchery in east Mentone, a silver 4-door Jeep 4x4 with a New York plate visible on the rear was still stuck in the wash at 2:40 p.m. The California Highway Patrol reported discovery of the unoccupied vehicle Friday evening. There was no sign Saturday of whoever left it there.
Right around the same time, the Highway Patrol reported an incident involving two vehicles near the end of Valley of the Falls Drive. Fire rescue personnel were called and responders were advised of the need for a landing zone.
By 6:30 p.m. this evening, the CHP had labeled the incident a fatality, and two vehicles had been taken for evidence.
One of the emergency personnel who responded to the incident said two pickup trucks collided about 100 feet west of the rangers kiosk at the Big Falls parking lot.
One victim, a girl who appeared to be between 9 and 12 years old, was taken to a helicopter at the LZ set up further down Mill Creek, below Forest Falls and east of the 38 junction.
She was believed to be in critical condition as she was airlifted by a Sheriff's Aviation crew to a hospital. Another injured victim, an adult female, was taken by ground ambulance to a hospital for treatment.
Firefighters from Forest Falls and Angelus Oaks, AMR personnel, and the San G SAR team were among those who responded.
Distraught family members, who had come to Forest Falls to play in the snow, remained near the crash scene and prayed.
Photos by Guy McCarthy