Challenger Driver Ends Up in a Water-filled Canal in California

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Dodge Challenger in a Canal

Dodge Challenger owner was doing his best “fast and furious” impression in an area that he didn’t know.

Early yesterday morning, the Fox 26 KMPH Facebook page shared the picture above of a grey Dodge Challenger sitting in a concrete-lined canal in water that is deep enough to cover the tires. The car is badly wrecked and a man who we can assume is the driver is sitting on the roof, looking quite distraught.

The picture quickly spread across the internet without any explanation, but how this Challenger ended up wrecked in a drainage canal is as foolish as you might expect.

Too Fast, Too Furious

Evidently, sometime earlier this week, the California Highway Patrol got a call about a car that had run off of the road and into a drainage canal in Buttonwillow. When the police arrived, they found the car in the water with the depressed driver sitting on the roof, and one of the officers was good enough to snap a picture for us all to enjoy.

It seems that the driver was speeding through an area with which he was not familiar and he ended up in the canal. There is no other information, but if we had to guess based on the damage, we would bet that this guy was blasting through the area, not realizing that the canal was there. He likely sped towards the canal and couldn’t turn or stop quickly enough to avoid plunging down the concrete embankment and a few feet of water.

These canals are often blocked off with a guard rail or fence, which may have done the damage to the hood of this Challenger before it rambled down the side of the canal and into the water. To make matters worse, the roof is all dented up, presumably from when the driver climbed out of the flooded car to wait for the police.

It’s Totaled

While we obviously don’t know the full extent of the damage, we would bet that this Dodge Challenger is headed for the salvage yard. Between the damage to the front end, the damage caused by the water and any suspension damage that was done between the road and the final resting place in the canal, we would bet that there is enough destruction that the insurance company will total it out.

That is a bummer for this Dodge driver, but based on the initial report, his careless driving in an unfamiliar area led to the demise of his Challenger. We should all learn a lesson from this, just in case he didn’t.

This accident happened in a town that has a well-known road course that shares the Buttonwillow name, so this driver would have been much better off paying to take his Challenger to an open track day where he may have just hit a wall. Those damages would have been easier to repair and it wouldn’t have involved the police.

In any case, it seems that the driver is ok, shy of same damage to his pride.

Photos: Facebook

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"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

Rall can be contacted at [email protected]

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