Driver Rescued after SUV Flips in Floodwaters. Neighbors Stun Him With Next Move


Flash floods bear the name for a reason: in a flash, a flood of water unleashes its powerful fury on whatever stands in its path. In a flash, people are in peril, vehicles become toy boats, and lives can be forever changed.

Krystina Reyes, who works for a party rental company in Santa Clarita, Calif. was driving with her uncle on March 22. Santa Clarita roads were quickly becoming rivers as pouring rain pounded down around their van.

Danger turned to disaster as swift-moving floodwaters and debris suddenly overtook the SUV ahead of Reyes. She quickly dialed 911 while her uncle dashed out of the van to try and help.

“His car just started slowly shifting, and once it shifted, it flipped,” Reyes recalled of the SUV. “And once it completely flipped over, we just all jumped out.”

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Reyes managed to capture video of the very intense rescue that likely saved driver Margareto Martinez’s life. Her uncle climbed on top of the SUV and found a rock to smash his way inside.

After several tense moments, Martinez managed to climb out of the vehicle amid roaring rapids. Martinez insisted he was fine, though admitted he feared for his life as he sat trapped in his SUV.

Reyes and her uncle helped Martinez into their van, turned on the heat and gave him a towel. “My uncle gave him his jacket,” Reyes added.

Martinez is a local gardener, and has a reputation as an honest, hard worker. According to KTLA, language barriers may have kept the Spanish-speaking Martinez from heeding a warning not to enter the dangerous waters.

One of Martinez’s clients, Dennis Neice, was moved to help the gardener, who had just lost his entire livelihood in the flash flood.

After seeing the wreckage, Neice went out and bought a new vehicle, gifting it to Martinez.

Neice barely batted an eye at the gesture, saying Martinez was a well-deserving recipient.  “He’s a good person. He basically just almost lost everything he’s got,” Neice told KTLA.

Other neighbors are pitching in as well, raising money to get Martinez a phone and replace his many tools. “He’s worth it,” Neice said of Martinez.

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“He’s a good person, and I’ll get it back,” Neice said of the $12,000 vehicle purchase. “God will give it back to me.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
Page, Arizona
Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Lifestyle & Human Interest