Tim Hogan suffered medical emergency prior to deadly car crash into Walnut Creek

“He kind of yelled out and flailed his arms, and he passed out,” recalls Janet Hogan. The 74-year-old Walnut Creek woman is the mother of TIm Hogan and the lone survivor of the April 11 crash that killed Tim, 40, of San Diego, and his father, Janet’s 79-year-old husband, James Hogan.

Janet Hogan was telling her story Thursday to reporters at a Concord fire station. She has recovered physically from the ordeal of being swept several miles downstream, and of almost drowning. And while she’s devastated at the loss of her husband of 43 years and one of her two sons, she said she was grateful to be alive.  

She said that stormy Sunday evening, she, her husband and son were on their way to dinner in downtown Walnut Creek, heading north on San Miguel Road towards Mt. Diablo Boulevard.  Tim was driving his parents’ Honda Accord. Police say the crash occurred at 6:15 p.m. around the time a downpour of rain was soaking the city.

After Tim Hogan passed out, Janet says she tried to pull her son’s foot off the accelerator while her husband grabbed for the steering wheel.

But it was too late. The car crashed through the fence where Mt. Diablo Boulevard crosses the creek, just across the street from the downtown Safeway. The car turned over and landed upside down in the water.

Janet Hogan, an experienced swimmer, did what she had to do. She could see that her husband was bleeding from the head. She grabbed him, and pulled him out of the car. He was immediately swept away with the current. Minutes later, he was seen floating upside down in the water. She tried to grab her son, but he was strapped into the car, with his seatbelt still on.

The strong current of the 50-degree water started to pull her downstream, too, and she knew she could not help her son.

The water carried her several miles north.  For about two miles, she managed to keep her head above water and call to some kids along the waterway to call 911.  She could see fire rescue personnel throw ropes to her.  “The first one I missed, the second one I missed.” She heard a rescue helicopter and saw police officers on the bridges: “I knew help was on the way.”

Her saviour came near Bancroft Road and Treat Boulevard in the form of a Contra Costa County Fire District engineer, Dave Manzeck, who was dangling from a California Highway Patrol helicopter. In a dramatic rescue, he pulled her from the water, after she was started to go under.

“He’s my saviour for ever more,” says Janet Hogan about Manzeck.

Tim Hogan was found strapped in the car later that evening and pronounced dead. The exact nature of his medical emergency is pending.

James Hogan disappeared in the cold, choppy current; his body was found three days later near Buchanan Field in Concord.

Said Janet Hogan to reporters: “The only reason I’m sitting here talking to all of you today is with the grace of God and all the help that I’ve gotten from the Fire Department, police, the helicopter, CHP, Walnut Creek police and probably a lot more that I can’t even name right now.” 

11 thoughts on “Tim Hogan suffered medical emergency prior to deadly car crash into Walnut Creek

  1. After the bravery of Mrs. Hogan, the most heartening part of this story is the quick action and concern exhibited by the three young boys who called 911.

    These are kids who we can all be proud of and let us hope that they receive the appropriate accolades they so richly deserve.

    Kind of makes you feel that all is not lost with today's youth, especially after reading your previous post about WC kid's behavior on the Internet.


  2. Anons 4:54, 5:09, 5:27,

    You should be ashamed. Please have some respect for people involved in this terrible situation.

    Thank the rescuers. Share the pain of the victims' familiy.


  3. I hope that all of those who speculated on the cause of the incident, like not knowing how to drive or suicide, have learned their lesson.

    I had a hunch that the driver may have had a seizure or other medical issue that caused the accident, but of course, we all needed to wait for the autopsy and all of the evidence to be released.


  4. I didn't even know this family, but I agree that it is very sad. I'm amazed that Janet Hogan was able to speak to the media after suffering such a loss and surviving the crash. But she sounds pretty tough, physically and otherwise. I wish I could have that kind of presence of mind and grace afterwards.


  5. I knew Tim, Alicia Driscol, Roma Bhatia, Loretta Hale, Councilman Shimansky, Officer Starzck (Downtown MTZ), Eric Nunn, John Kelly, Tiny Bynum, Kellie Reed, Chuck Silverman and far too many more.

    On September 27th, 2014 a Benjamin Strack, his wife, their three children all reported being stalked took their owns lives or perhaps not as for many years I've been stalked by persons that years to throw off.

    This family is one degree away from my high school, my brother, his wife and it doesn't sound like it makes any sense.

    Someone is an expert at Staging scenes.

    With the help of attorneys connected to the Contra Costa Bar Association, Walnut Creek Police and others I was burned for about $400,000.

    This is my brothers nephew.


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