Man rescued

A man who drove his car off the road south of Devil's Slide on Thursday morning was starting the climb up by the time firefighters arrived. Photo courtesy Cal Fire

A man is in stable condition after driving his vehicle over the cliff south of the Devil’s Slide tunnel on Thursday morning, authorities said.

California Highway Patrol public information officer Mark Andrews said an officer was patrolling the area this morning when he noticed tire marks heading off the side of the cliff and saw the car in the water below. Andrews said the man, identified as a 21-year-old man, had already exited the car and had begun climbing up the cliff before the officer told him to wait for assistance.

Cal Fire spokeswoman Cecile Juliette said the officer called for help at 8:35 a.m. Roughly 20 minutes later, fire crews pulled the man to safety. The man was in stable condition but was treated for injuries before being taken to the hospital after complaining of pain.

The man told officers he was the only person in the vehicle. Fire crews from the Coastside Fire Protection District, San Mateo County and the North County Fire Authority responded to the incident. The San Mateo County Harbor District also had personnel on the water. 

Andrews said the car, a 2005 Honda Civic, will remain in the water until it can be recovered when the tide and swell drop.

This version drops the ethnicity of the driver. It is Review policy to include ethnicity only when relevant to the story.

August Howell is a staff writer for the Review covering city government and public safety. Previously, he was the Review’s community, arts and sports reporter. He studied journalism at the University of Oregon.

(22) comments


Sometimes, it’s okay not to have an opinion. Especially when a story involves someone’s kid. Reckless opinions cause real world harm, and that real world harm always finds its way right back around.


All that compassion is cute but I am really angry at these careless drivers who cannot stay off their devices or pay a little extra attention. They are endangering all of us with their selfishness. Thank God, this guy didn't hit anyone head on, which could have easily happened as well.


I drive from Montara to work everyday along that road. Drive slow and keep your eye on the road. No texting!


First off I’m glad that the young man survived!

Second, not sure why it was necessary to share that he was hispanic….

Maybe a conversation for another time.

Lastly,we can go all Darwin or just add some guardrails.It might be a better solution and save life’s also would probably be less expensive than sending out first responders, multiple fire trucks, helicopter, police cars and ambulances.


Good point about ethnicity...but might be that reporter was quoted from official CHP info which has a box for driver description and ethnicity is included in that......story......back in 60's a couple was driving home from a gala evening in SF...drinking...dancing....coming south on the old Devil's Slide highway. Man had to relieve pulled off onto shoulder next to berm....and stood on berm to vacate (time circa 2am)...CHP day shift car pulls up behind vehicle on shoulder....wife of driver passed out in passenger seat....she was awakened by officer and told him husband stopped to vacate.........husband's body found 600+ feet below on rocks at bottom of Devil's Slide...........see, even people have a hard time not going TEXTING kiddies..........


It appears it was CHP.The editor nevertheless corrected the story and indicated they don’t call out ethnicity and have corrected.

Scott McVicker

Until we are presented with driverless autos, the operator is responsible for where his/her car travels. Some call this "Safe Driving".

Accidents such as this provide a glimpse into the thinking in the population...which may suggest to you, the reader, that there are two ways people react to such occurrences:

In group #1, those who read about the accident, are glad that the driver survived, and hope he does better in the future. A lucky break.

In group #2, those who demand more and more protections…in this instance from their government. Because no unfortunate outcome should ever occur if it be “preventable”.

Individual responsibility is but one trait of a strong personality and a good citizen. Abdicating responsibility and seeking the protection authority only weakens Society and each individual.

Dan Stegink

You know Scott, having pulled tens of dead bodies out of the water as a Rescue Diver and searched for many more that were never found, I wouldn't wish that pain on my worst enemy. It destroys people's lives, it destroys their marriages, and bereaved parents frequently even commit suicide. I don't care if your kid was speeding, if your kid was using drugs, was unfamiliar with the road, or had a tire blowout. I'm going to try to find your kid.

Scott McVicker

Your recognition should have been one of the primary threads in this discussion...rather than a reply to mine. It is understood that you would rather not be required to use your skill.

Dan Stegink

No Scott(2) you incorrectly stated "two ways people react to such occurrences... In group #1, those who read about the accident, are glad that the driver survived... In group #2, those who demand more and more protections..." Many if not most people are in both groups. Highway protections are not different from motorcycle helmets, seatbelts, and engineered crush zones in autos... something the best drivers in the world all benefit from.

Scott McVicker

Since we are out of “Add Reply” buttons...

There are individuals suited to functioning in the world as it is. Then there are those who would like reassurances regarding their safety before they engage. Society runs a balancing act between these two camps.

Highway protections, designed crush zones, seat belts and motorcycle helmets are actually different from one another...and I'd like to draw attention to how each became embedded in our lives. Let's have a closer look through the general lens of the term “Safety”.

Safety in the Built Environment

Highway barriers are a cost-benefit result. We probably agree that they should be placed first where they may do the most good...and install as many additional as possible...given the locations which are not as critical. We, as citizens, understand that highway and barrier design are complex and do not just serve the individual...but everyone who uses the highways.

In this particular circumstance, with a 45 mph posted speed limit, the presence of a guardrail may have re-directed the path of the distracted driver's vehicle back into oncoming traffic. Net closure speed = 90 mph. Two words: Multiple Fatalities. Thus the general public cannot demand guardrails without accepting the unintended consequences of their functioning. We defer to experts to provide relatively safe highways on which we all drive.

Safety in Design ( )

The transition from a rigid frame automobile design to one which incorporated crumple zones had multiple starting points. (#1) A change in automobile design to reduce weight and thus improve fuel efficiency, (#2) an acknowledgment that a more gradual deceleration of the occupants improved survivability and (#3) the economics which pushed smaller cars onto the highways. Volvo pushed this aspect in their ads. Certain consumers were drawn to the idea that they would be more protected in the event of an accident...but nobody was forcing them to select a car with a high safety rating.

Safety of The Occupants ( )

Research demonstrated the usefulness of seat belts and the 1966 National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act set safety standards for all vehicles...but their use was not universally welcome. In my view, this was because the authority which demanded the protection (the Government) had breached the barrier between how the owner wished to use his/her vehicle and how someone else thought their vehicle should be operated. Leaving the safe operating/driving rules aside for a moment, the Government eventually “won” the argument by making seat belt use mandatory by law. From there, more seat belts, rear seat(s) seat belts, child car seats, air bags...each a good idea...but they all got there via a mandate.

Safety of the Individual ( )

At this point the safety-enhancing initiative/device is now on a one-to-one basis with each user. But the Government was along for the ride...and told users that they had to wear a helmet. Of course resistance could be expected. The choice to wear/not wear a helmet and the consequences of that choice would have remained with the individual...except for the entrenched “safety-ism” which Government wished to exert on an increasing number of aspects of each individual's life. From the chart in that Wikipedia article, see how many states require helmets by law. You can expect that red will eventually color the entire country.

And then there is the current “situation” wherein the Government wishes to protect you from the inside. But that is a post for another time.

John Charles Ullom

I have driven that stretch of road hundreds if not thousands of times. I have yet to have plunged over the side. Sometimes. one has to compensate for conditions. Sounds like this guy failed to compensate.

There is not enough guard rail in all the realm to protect careless drivers from the consequences of their actions. Try driving South on Highway 1. You will find that well over half of it would need guard rails to prevent drivers from screwing up. Now do the same on every stretch of highway. You begin to see the magnitude of the problem.

Notice that there are guardrails prior too and after the spot depicted in the photo. Notice that the road is relatively straight there. What if there had been a guard rail and the young man had bounced off of it and into oncoming traffic? What the narrative be had that been the case.

And even if every inch of roadside had guard rails, this: --

Dan Stegink

Hi John, the problem is it's not every inch of the roadside people are ejecting off the cliff on. Assuming the above photo is off today's event, almost all the cars are going off in the 100 yards S of this photo and the 300 yards N of this photo.

I think it's likely five cars a year have been going off the cliff like clockwork here for the last fifty years.

John Gruver


Dan Stegink

County says: "Nothing to see here folks. Move along."

Everyone on the Coastside hope the next young driver to be killed on this stretch of road is not a member of their family.

Lisa Ketcham

Caltrans SR1 Safety Barrier Project target construction date is 2024. Read more here:

Another Concerned Citizen

This happens so often that you would think they would have installed adequate guard rails or other barriers there long ago. There is no reason for this to keep happening.


You are spot on with that!


Ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto....... seriously


Agree! Who/what agency is responsible and how can we encourage them?

here ya' go

“There is no reason for this to keep happening.” Exactly. Pay attention and drive better.

John Gruver

GUARDRAILS???? Why the heck is anybody behind the wheel of a 2-ton moving mass and NOT PAYING ATTENTION to his/her job at hand? That's the question.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

More Stories