CHP Officer Rescues Drivers Trapped on Flooded Highway 101

CHP Officer Skaufel rescued trapped motorists on flooded Highway 101 during a rainstorm on March 30, 2024 (Photo: CHP)

A few days ago, on March 30th, around 8:20 p.m., Officer Skaufel responded to reports of flooding at Sheffield and San Ysidro.

While driving southbound on US 101, he noticed that traffic was stopped on both sides of the freeway near Olive Mill Road. He observed 3 cars stuck in approximately 3-4 feet of rising water, with one vehicle, a white sedan that became partially submerged with water entering the vehicle cabin on the northbound side of US 101.

Officer Skaufel stopped all southbound traffic, exited his patrol vehicle, and climbed over the center concrete barrier while there was a torrential downpour flooding both sides of the freeway. It was related that someone was stuck in the partially submerged vehicle.

CHP Officer Skaufel rescued trapped motorists on flooded Highway 101 during a rainstorm on March 30, 2024 (Photo: CHP)

Officer Skaufel approached the vehicle and attempted to open the door, but it was locked. The doors would not unlock, nor would the windows roll down due to a loss of power to the vehicle. The solo male occupant was trapped and asked for help to get out of his vehicle. They tried everything they could to get him out, but nothing would work.

Officer Skaufel told the driver to put his jacket over his face and he broke the male occupants window, cleared the glass, and safely assisted driver out of the submerged vehicle assisted him back to the patrol vehicle.

CHP Officer Skaufel rescued trapped motorists on flooded Highway 101 during a rainstorm on March 30, 2024 (Photo: CHP)

Officer Skafuel climbed over the center divider again and assisted the other stranded drivers back to his patrol vehicle as well. He turned on the heater of his patrol vehicle to warm the drivers, called for a tow trucks, and coordinated with Caltrans and CHP management to close US 101 in both directions to let the water drain.

The mission of the California Highway Patrol is to provide the highest level of safety, service, and security. Officer Skaufel risked his life to protect people in need and showed that he’s ready to be called upon when needed.

CHP Officer Skaufel rescued trapped motorists on flooded Highway 101 during a rainstorm on March 30, 2024 (Photo: CHP)

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14 Comments

  1. Great job, Officer Skaufel!

    I sure hope none of those he saved were any of the rescue haters here. I mean, driving in those conditions is just as “foolish” as hiking in the rain and requiring rescue due to a flashflood, right? Right.

  2. The report that the car doors would not unlock due to a loss of power to the vehicle is quite distressing. Since the person trapped inside the vehicle was alert and could respond to the officer’s instructions it appears that there was no manual unlocking mechanism inside the car. That’s hard to believe. Are there car models that are really built this way? Perhaps the occupant was panicked and disoriented

  3. Getting stuck on the interstate is very much different than driving into an intersection that historically and visibly floods.

    Just so you know, you all look way dumber than you think. Try chumming the water elsewhere.

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