Prius takes wild ride on mudslide; couple escapes without injury

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BURBANK, Calif.  (KTLA) -- Burbank, just north of Los Angeles, also had problems with mudslides.

A local resident whose vehicle was seen in a widely shared video sliding on top of a wave of mud down a Burbank street spoke out about the incident on Thursday, saying he wasn't sure if he and his girlfriend were going to survive the wild ride.

Dallas native Desionne Franklin said he'd never experienced anything like the deluge that hit the home where he is staying in Burbank.  He first became worried about the weather conditions when he got up at 6 a.m. Tuesday to get ready for work.

“I heard a rumbling as I was lying in the bed and I woke up," he recalled. "I told my girlfriend, ‘Hey, I don’t know what’s happening, but we’ve got to get ready to go.’"

Video of Franklin's ordeal was captured by crew members with a local firefighters union, Burbank Firefighters Local 778, as the storm battered the region on Tuesday. The video was posted to Instagram on Wednesday.

The video opens on a shot of 700 block of Country Club Drive — a hilly street, buttressed by homes — that looks more like a swift-moving river of sludge. A surge of mud comes downhill, carrying with it a dark-colored Toyota Prius that goes careening down the hill but manages to stay on the curved roadway.

Franklin and his girlfriend were the last to leave the evacuated area, and he attempted to ease his car down the street to avoid puncturing any tires.

"When I got halfway down the hill, I just felt this burst of water hit the back of the car,” he said.

That's the powerful burst of mud that can be seen in the video. After turning the corner, Franklin said the sedan hydroplaned the rest of the way down the hill.

“I guess this is going to be it for me, right here,” he recalled thinking.

With his girlfriend screaming at the top of her lungs, Franklin managed to get some traction and maneuver the car to the bottom of the hill, where several other smashed-up vehicles had come to rest after similar journeys.

“One of the cars looked like a wadded up piece of foil paper," he said. "You couldn’t even recognize what it was to begin with.”

The pair then drove to the Burbank library to survey the damage to Franklin's car, which he began leasing about seven months ago to drive for ride-hailing apps such as Lyft and Uber. The car was mucked up and scratched, but still functions fine.

“I didn’t even know a Prius could hold up in nothing like that,” he said.

Franklin posted his own video on Instagram of the aftermath, saying he and his girlfriend had "barely made it out."

Desionne Franklin sits in his Prius Jan. 11, 2018, two days after riding it down a river of mud in Burbank. (Credit: KTLA)

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