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Bakersfield woman talks about helping children in deadly Highway 99 crash

"Help me get my kids please, please, please."
Fatal Accident, Highway 99, July 12, 2021
Fatal Accident, Highway 99, July 12, 2021
Fatal Accident, Highway 99, July 12, 2021
California Highway Patrol, CHP, File
Posted at 4:51 PM, Jul 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-13 20:29:34-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — On Monday a deadly four-vehicle crash on Highway 99 north of Rosedale Highway left one person dead and others injured including children. But one woman who was on the scene says some of those kids might not have made it if she wasn't there to help.

“I started hearing this lady screaming and she’s like ‘my kids, my kids.’ I was like oh my goodness so I jumped over the wall and I ran to the van and she’s like hysterically, frantically grabbing me and stuff and saying ‘help me get my kids please, please, please,’” said Bakersfield resident Alyssa Mendoza.

It was that call for help that got Mendoza to take action.

Fatal Accident, Highway 99, July 12, 2021
On Monday a deadly four-vehicle crash on Highway 99 north of Rosedale Highway left one person dead and others injured including children.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the crash took place at 4:10 p.m. in the bypass lane of the 99. Three cars stopped due to the slow down but the driver accused of causing the crash failed to stop hitting the three other vehicles. That driver, a 72-year-old man, died at the scene.

Mendoza was there when it happened. She says with her EMT experience and motherly instincts, she knows that she was supposed to be there.

“I was put there for a reason and for whatever reason I was the first one just in split seconds that as soon as it happened. I just bolted out of my car and went straight to help.”

She says she’s glad she could assist the other family.

“I don’t feel much like a hero. I just feel like I was guided to be there and for whatever reason. I was out on that exact spot to be there and to be the one that helped that family out.”

All the people impacted in the crash were wearing a seatbelt. CHP also says alcohol and drugs do not appear to be a factor in the incident. That investigation into what happened is still ongoing.

When 23ABC posted an article about the accident on our Facebook page that got a lot of people talking. Many drivers commented that they also had some close calls on Highway 99.

"I was in a 7 car pile-up because of the construction on 99 it's caused so many wrecks," said Gayla.

Another woman named Sherry added "I stay off this freeway. It's under construction and so dangerous."

Eric said, "That project has taken one too many lives already."


Work Zone Safety

The California Department of Transportation wants you to return home safely to your family. The following tips are to help you stay safe while traveling through maintenance and construction work zones. Motorists can make trips a little safer by remembering the following work zone safety tips.

  • Be Work Zone Alert
  • Do not speed in work zones; obey the posted speed limits.
  • Stay Alert! Expect the unexpected.
  • Watch for workers; drive with caution.
  • Don't change lanes unnecessarily.
  • Avoid using mobile phones while driving in work zones.
  • Turn on headlights so that workers and other drivers can see you.
  • Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones.
  • Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
  • Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Anticipate lane shifts, and merge when directed to do so.
  • Be Patient!


The construction area is called the "Bakersfield 99 Rehab Project" and Caltrans says it started earlier this year.

The construction zone starts near Norris Road and follows the highway all the way down to Stockdale Highway and Brundage Lane.

The agency says there are 828 construction projects right now that might span over several miles.