Jong Choi, 45, next to his dark green Chevrolet Astro van, California
Highway Patrol Officer Vince Bell said. Choi had apparently driven
his van off the Angeles Crest (2) Highway as he went to work.
Choi started the fire as a signal, Osorio said.
Choi started the fire about 50 feet away from his van, Osorio
said, at a time when a light wind, morning moisture and cooler
temperatures helped subdue the flames.
Starting a brush fire to get help is never a good idea, Osorio
said, but, "he did choose a fairly good time, if he had to do it.
"He was 500 feet over the side of the road -- there was no way he
was going to climb his way up. Realistically, there was no way anyone
was going to see or hear him," Osorio said.
The area is very dark and dense with brush, said Jay Paneno,
Montrose Search and Rescue Team operations leader.
"If no one sees a car going over, that car could sit there for
hours and days," Paneno said. Five members of his team were called to
help Choi out of the area.
Choi was groggy Thursday from medication, Bell said, and because
of the drugs, an injury near his mouth and a language barrier, he was
only able to tell investigators the accident happened Monday.
After he was rescued, Choi was flown to Huntington Memorial
Hospital, where he was treated for some cuts to his face, as well as
bumps and bruises, hospital spokeswoman Connie Matthews said.
Hospital officials planned to keep him for at least a day.
"We want to observe him for a day to make sure everything's OK,"