Firefighters from Arrowbear Lake Fire Department responded to reports of a vehicle over the side of Highway 18.
Firefighters prepare to hoist the vehicle up to the highway.
(Photos: Chief Paul Lindley)
Big Bear Lake woman perishes in traffic accident
At 3:16 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2023, the Arrowbear Lake Fire Department, along with units from Running Springs Fire Department and Cal Fire, responded to reports of a vehicle over the side of the 33100 block of Highway 18 near Arrowbear Lake Drive.
First arriving units located an overturned dark grey Jeep Compass SUV in flood waters that were multiple feet high. The flood waters, according to Chief Paul Lindley, resulted from the overflow of Arrowbear Lake due to the significant amount of rain that had recently fallen. Water from this runoff, the chief noted, follows a path under Highway 18 from the south fork of Deep Creek into Deep Creek Lake.
Fire crews commenced a rescue operation and identified one entrapped deceased occupant in the vehicle. At this point the incident turned from a rescue to a vehicle and body recovery.
On-scene personnel requested a heavy wrecker and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s coroner.
At approximately 7:45 a.m., the vehicle and body recovery operation was conducted and the vehicle was brought upright to the highway where crews confirmed a white female in her 60s as the sole occupant of the vehicle.
Following notification of next of kin, the victim has been identified by the coroner’s office as Christine L. Flores, 65, of Big Bear Lake.
The traffic collision investigation is being conducted by the California Highway Patrol. During the course of the six-hour operation, there were intermittent hard road closures of Highway 18 and Arrowbear Lake Drive.