Passerby stops and stays with injured driver. Hopes to hear if she is doing ok…
PLANADA, CA – On 04/05/16, at approximately 22:20 hours, Merced CHP Officers were dispatched to a call of an unknown injury traffic collision. When officers responded they located Angelika Barajas in a 1999 Chrysler 300. It was determined that she was driving eastbound on Childs Avenue at an unknown speed. For an unknown reason Barajas allowed the vehicle to drift off of the roadway into a dry canal. The vehicle then collided into a concrete dam where it came to rest.
As a result of this collision Barajas sustained major injuries and was transported to Memorial Medical Center by American Medical Response for treatment of her injuries. This collision remains under investigation.
Cathy Cowan who was driving eastbound on Childs Avenue on her way to clean the Golden Valley Clinic in Planada with a co-worker that night when she saw the car go off the roadway. “I remember seeing a group of about 4 cars traveling ahead of me and they were going about 80 to 85 miles per hour,” Cathy estimated in a phone interview with MCNTV News. “We were near Plainsburg Road when one of the cars started to lose control and was swerving. She almost hit a car coming in the opposite direction head-on before she went down an embankment and her head lights disappeared.”
Cathy says she and her co-worker immediately pulled over and ran to the area where the car had gone off the road expecting to see someone dead or dying. “I turned on my car’s high-beams and as we approached the car my co-worker was on the phone with 911 and I could hear a woman crying “help me.” I could see her arm hanging out of the window,” Cathy continued. “I tried to pull the door open, I mean I literally put my feet against the side of the car to give myself more leverage as I pulled and pulled, but it was no use. I was getting more worried because we started noticing smoke coming from the car now and the girl started crying more saying “please, I don’t wanna die.” We tried to find a fire extinguisher, but nobody had one.
So I ran over to the passenger side and tried to open that door. Then I tried the rear door and the windshield, which some how made it into the back seat, fell onto my feet as the door swung open. She was stuck in the car and so I broke away the passenger’s seat, held her hand and stayed with her. She was crying and in pain telling me “please don’t leave me” and I kept reassuring her that I would not. That is when she told me her name was Angelika and that she had three babies.”
A female driver in one of the four cars that were allegedly driving fast had also pulled over and was taking photos and texting. “The woman turned out to be a relative of the girl who was trapped in the vehicle,” said Cathy. “She seemed to be laughing at the situation her relative was in rather than trying to help.”
The driver also confided in Cathy that she has only had her license for a a week and just purchased the car three days ago,
When the Cal Fire arrived it took about another 30 minutes before they were able to free the young woman.
“I just wanna know if she’s okay,” said Cathy. “The CHP Officer on scene was very nice and I asked if I could see Angelika before she left. He said yes and so I went over and said bye and told her I would come and visit her in the hospital. I thought they were taking her to Mercy, but I guess her injuries were more serious than I thought.”
Why did Cathy decide to help and comfort a complete stranger? “I was scared to death,” Cathy answered, “but I would hope that if someone came across my child who needed help that they would do whatever they could to help them.”
And what does her husband Richard and their two beautiful children think about mommies heroism? “My husband wasn’t too happy about me climbing in the back seat of the car,” Cathy said, “but he also said “I would have done the same thing.”