Brian Jones says he cannot stand for long because he can't feel his right foot. It went numb two years ago after a vehicle ran into his SUV off Lerdo Highway, pushing it into the Lerdo canal.
"It escalated to where we flipped,” said Jones. “I was cussing the entire time and then all I know is water."
So much water that, he says, his friends were trapped inside his Isuzu Rodeo as he struggled to make it out. The crash killed 36-year-old Robert Junyor and 43-year-old Brentina French on their way home from the March Meet at Famoso Raceway.
Jones says he had just gotten off the 99 freeway and was headed down Lerdo Highway toward the Lerdo Jail when a PT Cruiser came down Cawelo Avenue, slammed into his car and sent it into the canal. He says the driver, Anthony Snelson, ran the stop sign.
The California Highway Patrol said neither driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Snelson was later sentenced to 200 hours of community service.
Now, Jones is fighting for a barrier to prevent any more deaths at Lerdo canal. He's suing the North Kern Water Storage District and blames them for the accident.
"I want to see a barrier there, I care,” he says. “It's a quarter mile. It's not that big of a deal, put something there to prevent something from happening to any other families. If I owned the land and had one accident, that would be enough.”
Harold Junyor and his family are also suing the water district. He lost his son Robert Junyor, who had been dating French for only a week. He says he'll continue to fight for a barrier.
“I want to see a fence, a guardrail or something out there to keep families from going through what I’ve gone through,” Junyor said. “Until you’ve lost a child, it’s the hardest thing a parent could ever do.”
The North Kern Water Storage District directed 17 News to its legal counsel, Ernest Conant of Young Wooldridge, who was not able to give a comment by news time.