(SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA) — In what could possibly be one of the most bizarre car accidents ever, the driver and passenger of a white Nissan Altima managed miraculously to escape relatively unscathed with only minor injuries after the vehicle was lifted into the air and thrown into the second floor wall of a Santa Ana dental office in the early morning of Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018.
The sedan was speeding rapidly northbound in the empty early morning traffic on French Street; then, according to the Orange County Fire Authority, the vehicle crossed three lanes on 17th Street, barely missing getting clipped by one car that had just barely passed, before it struck the raised center divider, catapulting about 60 feet up through the air — narrowly avoiding collision with a second vehicle, a westbound OCTA public bus that entered the intersection mere seconds after the sedan went flying by — and plowed into the two-story structure where it lodged itself halfway deep into the upstairs floor.
According to the Santa Ana Police Department, the collision was reported over the phone to authorities at approximately 5:25 a.m., when officers were dispatched to the 300 block of E. 17th Street at the intersection with French Street.
Incredible surveillance video from a nearby motel captured the unbelievably close dodges immediately before and after the sedan’s flight, as well as the explosive exact moment of impact it slams into the 2-story structure:
Additional dash cam footage from the OCTA bus also captured the exact breathtaking moment the white sedan soared by in front of it followed by a huge blast of flying debris revealing just how dangerously close they came to colliding in a serious, high velocity crash.
The car remained wedged inside the dental office, hanging out of the 2nd floor at 319 E. 17th St. until about 7:50 a.m., when members of the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) and the Los Angeles County Urban Search & Rescue teams were able to successfully pry the vehicle out. The extremely unusual extraction procedure required borrowing and bringing down a specialized fire truck bringing down a specialized fire truck from the LA County Fire Department to properly remove the car from the punctured building.
The incident caused a small fire that injured one person, who managed to get out of the sedan unassisted, the OCFA said.
Firefighters from Los Angeles County and the Orange County Fire Authority responded to the scene and extinguished the blaze, then extricated the second person who was trapped inside the sedan while its front end was still lodged high in the building.
“The driver, who admitted to using narcotics, will be admitted to a local hospital for observation,” the SAPD stated in a Sunday press release. “Officers will submit a DUI/Narcotics case to the Orange County District Attorney’s office.”
The driver of the vehicle, whose name has not been released, was later arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, SAPD said Sunday afternoon.
Public Works was summoned to examine the integrity of the structure.
Santa Ana Police Sgt. Roland Andrade said investigators will review any videos of the event and encourages anyone with such video to contact the department at (714) 245-8201.