A 26-year-old man whose car went over the embankment towards the San Luis Reservoir near Los Banos spent the night in his car and climbed out more than 12 hours later, the California Highway Patrol reported on Wednesday.
San Jose resident Justin Ochoa was driving a 1995 Ford Contour eastbound on Highway 152 near the Romero Visitors Center between midnight and 1 a.m. Wednesday, Officer Dean Emehiser said.
He began to fall asleep and the car drifted into the oncoming lane, CHP said, before he over-corrected. The car went over the east side embankment and came to rest at 200 feet down from the highway.
Ochoa suffered "minor injuries" and decided to wait for the morning to try to climb out, CHP said. It was unclear if he did not have a cellphone or if it was lost during the crash.
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Ochoa slept inside the car, and climbed up to a highway call box, where he called for help about 2:19 p.m. Wednesday.
Emehiser said the car was not visible from the roadway, and apparently there were no witnesses to the solo-vehicle crash. Incidents of drivers having to climb out of the reservoir is "unusual," he said, but "it's happened in the past."
The CHP uses a "heavy duty" tow truck to pull cars up an embankment, he said. Ochoa was taken to Memorial Hospital Los Banos with minor injuries.