9-year-old girl treks rough terrain to get help after crash

ACTON, Calif.

The girl's father, identified as 35-year-old Alejandro Renteria of North Hollywood, died in the crash. Authorities say he was driving down Sierra Highway at about 1 a.m. when he lost control of his SUV and went tumbling down 200 feet down a canyon and landed at the bottom of a ravine.

Following the wreck, the little girl walked in nearly pitch-black surroundings along difficult terrain to try and get help for her father.

According to CHP Sgt. Tom Lackey, the girl saw a light about 1,000 feet away and made her way to a home. No one came to the door, so she back-tracked to the scene of the crash to check on her father, who was still unconscious.

At this point, officials say the girl took a different tact and scaled up the steep cliff, got up to Sierra Highway and headed for the nearest lit area, which was a Metrolink station nearly a mile away. Just prior to reaching the station, someone stopped along the road after seeing the child at about 2:30 a.m. That Good Samaritan then alerted authorities.

Lackey described the girl's actions as showing commitment and courage, adding that in his 28-year career, he's never seen anything like it.

"She walked quite a distance in a very, very threatening environment. It's very black out here, very dark. It's very steep and it's brushy and there's also coyotes in the background," Lackey said. "So for someone who is raised in a very urban environment as opposed to a rural setting, that can be quite intimidating."

Lackey said the child was flown to Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, where she was reported in good condition with only minor bruises and a cut to her cheek. The girl told authorities that the two of them were on their way back home from a party, when her dad started having difficulty maneuvering the curvy roads.

Lackey said it's believed that alcohol played some role in the crash, but more investigation needs to be done to ascertain the whole picture.

Officials on scene were waiting for a tow truck to pull the SUV out of the ravine.

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