Man Dies Trapped in Burning Car

A man trapped in his burning car died early Monday morning
before firefighters could rescue him.
By Lori Stuenkel

Gilroy – A man trapped in his burning car died early Monday morning before firefighters could rescue him.

The unidentified man was driving southbound on U.S. Highway 101 south of Leavesley Road about 2am when his car veered off the west shoulder, down an embankment, crashed into a tree, and caught fire.

A passer-by called 911 before trying to help, California Highway Patrol Officer Chris Armstrong said. The 1994 Volkswagen Jetta was fully engulfed by the time emergency personnel arrived at the scene.

“It was believed that he was motioning and trying to get out of the vehicle,” Armstrong said.

Officers will investigate to determine whether the man was driving under the influence, Armstrong said.

Four other people were injured in two separate South County crashes Sunday.

A San Jose man ran off Hecker Pass Highway about 2:50pm after he either fell asleep or passed out behind the wheel of his 2003 Ford Explorer, the CHP said. Urdett Kohler, 61, was driving westbound, west of El Toro Ranch, when he ran his vehicle off the road traveling about 65 miles per hour.

The Explorer ran down an embankment, launched into the air, and hit a fence. It rolled at least once before coming to rest on a dirt road.

A 14-year-old passenger was ejected and sustained major injuries. Urdett suffered moderate injuries. Both victims were flown to Stanford University Medical Center.

Later that evening, a couch sitting on the onramp to Highway 85 from 101 caused a San Jose man to lose control of his car. The man swerved his 1993 BMW 525i to the right, then overcorrected, the CHP said.

The BMW went off the road and rolled at least twice down a 40- to 50-foot embankment before coming to rest on its wheels on the Great Oaks onramp to Highway 85.

The driver, 50-year-old Vorind Su, suffered minor injuries. His passenger, Sosarany Su, 47, of San Jose, was trapped. Emergency personnel used the Jaws of Life to free her. She was transported with major injuries to Valley Medical Center, where she was listed in critical condition, the CHP said.