Police are still trying to determine what caused a car to lose control as it traveled north on San Miguel Drive Sunday evening, then fly into a canal and kill a 40-year-old man, injure his 74-year-old mother, and leave his 79-year-old father missing.
For unknown reasons, the Honda sedan, carrying members of the Hogan family, apparently slammed through an intersection, and crashed through a fence into the canal that runs behind the downtown Safeway.
The car overturned and landed in the rushing, rain-soaked waters of the canal, known as Walnut Creek. The crash killed the driver, who was identified as Tim Hogan, 40, a native of Walnut Creek and 1987 graduate of Las Lomas High School who more recently had been living in San Diego.
The crash sent two others, Hogan’s mother, Janet, and father, James, into the water.
While Tim Hogan was trapped in the car, as it floated several hundred yards north, his parents somehow made it out of the car. Janet floated about three miles north, to a spot near Bancroft Road and Treat Boulevard. Witnesses said she was concious and managing to keep her head above water for about two miles. When she was pulled out of the water by a CHP helicopter and rescue personnel, she was unconscious but breathing and transported to John Muir Medical Center. She was said to be recovering Monday evening.
The third person in the car, James Hogan, is still missing.
Police are trying to figure out how Honda Accord, belonging to James and Janet Hogan, went veering into the canal. So far there are no first hand accounts. It doesn’t appear that any other cars were involved. At the time, at around 6:10 p.m., it was raining pretty heavily throughout Walnut Creek.
San Miguel Drive has a slight decline north past Sierra Drive, but then it levels out. The speed limit in that stretch is 25 mph. San Miguel Drive then curves to the left and comes to the intersection with Walker Drive. Looking directly north at that intersection, across Walker Drive, is the cyclone fence lining the canal. The vehicle would have had a straight shot across the intersection before it crashed right through that fence.
The fence had been repaired and replaced as of Monday morning.