Marin crash hurts teen brothers as car falls 80 feet into backyard


Two teenage brothers from Belvedere were pulled from a sedan and one was hospitalized in critical condition after their car veered off Paradise Drive in Tiburon and fell about 80 feet into the backyard of a townhouse.

Emergency crews from multiple Marin agencies responded just before 7:30 a.m. Wednesday to 261 Trinidad Drive, where a vertically-positioned BMW 528i was wedged between a deck and a wall.

“We ended up having a complicated extrication due to the precarious nature of the vehicle,” said Mill Valley fire Battalion Chief Michael St. John.

Emergency responders used cutting equipment to reach the teens. The 15-year-old passenger, who suffered injuries described as “moderate to major,” was extricated first and was able to walk away. It took longer to reach the 17-year-old driver, who suffered “major, life threatening injuries,” the California Highway Patrol reported. Both boys were taken to Marin General Hospital.

The names of the boys, who had been on their way to Redwood High School, were not released. CHP investigators were working to determine the cause of the accident.

A firefighter checks on the BMW 528i that sits upside down wedged between a retaining wall and the deck of a house in Paradise Cay after the driver lost control on Paradise Drive and plummeted 80 feet, bouncing off the house in Tiburon on Wednesday. (James Cacciatore/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)
A firefighter checks on the BMW 528i that sits upside down wedged between a retaining wall and the deck of a house in Paradise Cay after the driver lost control on Paradise Drive and plummeted 80 feet, bouncing off the house in Tiburon on Wednesday. (James Cacciatore/Special to the Marin Independent Journal) 

“Our preliminary investigation indicates the driver of the 2015 BMW sedan was unable to safely navigate a curve in the roadway causing the vehicle to travel off of Paradise Drive and down a cliff side,” CHP officials said in a written statement.

Michael Paul Jr., a worker who was driving to a construction site in the area, said he saw the vehicle round a turn, lose control and disappear off the steep hillside from Paradise Drive. He said he was driving in the opposite direction of the BMW.

“It was way too fast,” said Paul, of Petaluma. “I was going slow. I was going maybe 25 mph. They came around going maybe 50 to 60. It was too much.”

Tom Wyman was eating breakfast with his girlfriend and their daughter in the dining room of their townhouse when they heard a loud crash. Through the sliding glass door, they saw their outdoor barbecue fly across their deck.

Wyman was not immediately aware that a car had fallen onto his roof, landing just a few feet from the area where they were eating. It came to rest partially on the deck.

“I look around the corner, the car is smashed against the side of the wall and suspended in a tree,” he said.

Wyman, who has lived in the townhouse for three years, said he knew it was possible that a vehicle could drop onto his home from Paradise Drive. But he hoped it would never happen. He said it is common to hear vehicles racing on the busy roadway that looms above his home.

Kim Gordon, a resident who lives down the street, said she has always wanted a guardrail installed on Paradise Drive. She said Wednesday’s incident made her realize guardrails are a necessity.

“I want to highlight, those boys would be OK if there were guardrails up here,” she said.

Susan Rothschild, Wyman’s neighbor, said with bicyclists routinely sharing Paradise Drive with vehicles on the two-lane road, a guardrail is vital.

“We want railings for the protection of drivers — all along Paradise,” she said. “The drops are steep and there isn’t enough room for two cars.”



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