Man injured after crashing car into empty canal



Video report by Jason Volentine

Posted on February 5, 2014 at 9:36 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 10 at 9:56 AM

PHOENIX -- A man is recovering at a local hospital after he crashed his car into an empty canal in Phoenix Wednesday afternoon, according to police.

It occurred near 31st and Dunlap avenues in the Metrocenter area.

Police said the man, who is in his mid 20s, crashed through a padlocked gate and lost traction in a gravel area. His car then struck a ridge, went airborne through a fence, and landed upside in a flood-control canal 30 feet below.

Police are still investigating the cause of the crash, but a witness said the driver was texting.

"I saw the phone in his hand," Eliza Morgan said. "He was looking down; he wasn't paying attention."

Morgan said the man was driving along the line separating oncoming traffic and almost hit her vehicle head-on. She then saw smoke and the car fly into the canal.

"We asked him if he was OK and he was like, 'Yeah, I'm OK,' and then he was like cussing," she said.

The man had already got himself out of the vehicle when police found him.

Police believe he was driving about 40 mph when he crashed through the gate.

"It mimics a front-end collision, hitting the bottom of the canal like that, so the fact that he had his seat belt and airbags made a big difference," said Phoenix police Sgt. Steven Wamsley, calling the man "very lucky."

He was transported to a hospital with a minor head injury.