Attorney expresses gratitude to ‘heroes’ after Val Verde rescue


A prominent Santa Clarita Valley attorney expressed his gratitude Tuesday morning for the people he described as heroes after a harrowing roadside rescue. 

“I’m very, very fortunate,” said Valencia resident Rick Patterson of Owen, Patterson & Owen.  

He said he was driving down Hasley Canyon Road during Monday’s storm around 6:30 p.m. to check on a good friend who’d recently had surgery. 

First responders check on Rick Patterson of Owen, Patterson & Owen after he was rescued from his SUV, which was caught in a flooded street on Hasley Canyon Road.

When he started to approach Del Valle Road at what firefighters referred to as “Arizona crossing,” the water was barely up to his hubcaps, he said.  

“I was at the Hasley (Canyon Road) crossing, and a couple of other trucks went in front of me,” said Patterson, who was driving a gray Nissan Pathfinder.  

And then disaster struck, quite literally.  

A log traveling in the rapidly rising water slammed into the rear passenger side of his SUV and spun it sideways.  

At that point, Patterson knew he was in trouble and focused his effort on keeping his vehicle parallel to the flow of the water while he called 911. 

The 911 dispatcher connected Patterson with a hook-and-ladder from Fire Station 143, which quickly arrived, alongside members of a search and rescue team and a nearby California Highway Patrol officer. 

Rick Patterson is assisted by first responders after his SUV gets trapped in more than 3 feet of water Monday night.

His cellphone call to 911 was connected with firefighters on the scene, who extended their ladder to get to Patterson, but it wasn’t quite long enough. Patterson ended up cracking his window and then having the firefighter at the end of the ladder pass him a life vest, and then got him connected to a harness, just in case. 

“So then they threw me the life jacket and I buckled in, and then they threw me a couple of straps and got them around my shoulder and under my armpits … and then I started inching backward out of the window,” he said. 

“And all of a sudden, the firefighter grabbed me and hugged me with her cord and I put my hand up and I said, ‘Thank you, you’re a hero for me,’ and she got me on the ladder and said, ‘Well, if you want to know, this is my first-ever rescue.’”  

Without missing a beat, Patterson replied, “Well, this is my first-ever rescue, too.” 

Patterson’s wild ride happened to be during one of the worst downpours the SCV has seen in a while. The National Weather Service reported Tuesday morning that in the 48-hour period ending at 4 a.m., the Saugus weather station, the closest accumulation point, recorded 4.36 inches of precipitation. To put that in perspective, the total for the previous water year — which is tracked from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 — was 8.16 inches. Thanks to the recent storm, the total is now 7.2 inches for the season.  

Patterson said he was grateful and unscathed after Monday’s adventure, and he was making plans to rescue his SUV Tuesday morning, with the storm having somewhat subsided. 

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