Woman barely escapes car fire at river’s edge

UPDATED to add the woman’s name and other info.

A woman escaped with her life after being helped out by a good Samaritan just moments before fire engulfed her car.

Early on Sunday afternoon Cathy McClellan, 60 years old from Parker, reportedly lost control while driving a blue Corvette on the winding river road designated as Business-95. Her car ended up on an incline against a retaining wall on the shore of the Colorado River, where a man who happened to be passing by with his kids in a truck stopped and ran into the brush to help.

The man, who did not want to be identified for this article, reportedly pulled McClellan out of her car through the window just as the fire was breaking out underneath the vehicle. Both ended up in the river, according to eyewitnesses. He sustained some minor injuries doing so, and McClellan appeared to be unhurt. Shortly after both were clear, the fire spread to surrounding palm trees and riverside brush, eventually leaving a charred pile of debris.

Buckskin Fire Department was first on the scene, joined by Parker Fire, CRIT Fire, Sheriff’s Department, Parker Police, CRIT Police and River Medical. Dozens of passers by in boats and on personal watercraft floated nearby to watch as the fire was extinguished. Everybody’s number one question was the same: did the driver escape?

McClellan was arrested on the scene for Extreme DUI (Driving Under the Influence), indicating a blood alcohol level of over .20, well over double the legal limit. She was taken away by La Paz County Sheriff’s Department and booked into the La Paz County Jail.


  1. Jamie Enriquez

    This woman is lucky to be alive, I drove up to this right after it happened and the man literally saved her life by pulling her out the window! It was a very scary experience. We threw our life jackets to them so they could jump in the river and we pulled them to a nearby boat. Thank god everyone came out safe and not hurt !!

  2. Tony Posada

    Jan Avery Kallemeyn that’s right in front of your place.

  3. Mike Rowe

    Wow that was a close call glad the drivers is ok.

  4. Jodie Vescio

    So very sad
    She almost hit me last week in the same exact spot & I had to drive off the road to avoid her t- boning me & sending me into the river

  5. Paula Guinn

    Does anyone know the woman’s name yet

  6. Kelly Ogilvie

    Wow, well hopefully this women will change her ways now whatever her case maybe????

  7. Does her being Caucasian really need to be a part of the story? Thankfully there was a good Samaritan nearby.

  8. In the absence of other details we give as much info as we can, and that’s it for now.

  9. Charlotte Phillippi

    Jodie Vescio, so glad you had a quick reaction. It is not a dangerous curve if you go the speed limit. We live right right there and it is hard to pull out of our drive because of speeders. Seems like she has been a resident for sometime. See lives in the Keys.

  10. Charlotte Phillippi

    Her son came up and I was talking to him. Don’t know the names. They live in the Keys.

  11. Public records show that the driver (I’ll leave it to John to publish the name… Public Interest and all) was charged with DUI, DUI BAC over .08% and Super Extreme DUI BAC over .20%. 2nd Offense within 84 months. Previous case was DUI, DUI BAC over .08% and Extreme DUI, and Extreme DUI BAC over .15%.

  12. I’ve updated the article with the woman’s name and other info.

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