One man was killed and another injured Friday after a car drove off the roadway and plummeted onto rocks at the mouth of the Kern River Canyon.
David Mitchell, 21, of Lake Isabella, died about six hours after the 6:22 a.m. crash, the Kern County coroner’s office reported.
The California Highway Patrol reported Ridgecrest resident Jeffrey Soulsberg, 19, suffered moderate injuries.
Mitchell was driving eastbound on Highway 178 shortly after 6 a.m. when he struck a rock on the right side of the canyon wall, officers reported. He overcompensated to the left and drove the 1999 BMW off the canyon edge, officers said.
The car came to rest on top of boulders 120 feet down the side of the canyon, officers reported. Soulsberg was able to walk back up to the roadway and flag down help.
Kern County firefighters got Mitchell out of the car.
CHP Sgt. Michelle Skieresz said the roadway was closed for three hours while emergency crews worked the scene. Officers initially thought alcohol was involved, but it no longer appears that was the case, she said.