David Manpearl was sitting at his desk at his home in Mar Vista on Friday morning when he saw a car drive past his window.
Seconds later he heard a loud bang.
“It took me a second or two to understand that the sound I heard was a cracking sound,” he said. “I ran out the door and down the street to find out where the accident was and to see if anyone needed help.”
The occupant and driver of the Mini Cooper was later identified as actor Anne Heche, 53. Heche was in stable condition Friday after suffering significant burns but is now the subject of a driving under the influence and an accident-inquiry related to the crash.
Sometime before the Mar Vista crash, Heche was reportedly seen crashing into an apartment building garage before driving off, TMZ reported.
Los Angeles Police Department officials said detectives obtained a search warrant to take a blood sample from Heche.
Three days later, Manpearl recounted the aftermath of the crash.
When he arrived at the scene, he said he lost the front wall of a house and found debris everywhere. He said Heche’s car drove all the way through the house and got stuck in a back wall. He said he went inside and saw the tenant standing amid the remains of her kitchen, barefoot and with her tortoise and two dogs asking for help.
“She couldn’t move because the ceiling had fallen and there was all sorts of debris everywhere,” Manpearl said. He and another neighbor helped the neighbor to safety.
Trevor Colbert, who lives across the street from the house, also ran outside after hearing the noise and found a hole in his neighbor’s house. He said he went back inside and got a fire extinguisher and came back to find his neighbor on her front lawn.
“She came out with one of her pets and seemed pretty upset,” Colbert said. “She didn’t really say much. I think she was in shock.”
After making sure the renter was safe, Manpearl said he went back inside to try to help Heche, who was still stuck in the car.
“It got to a point where there was fire everywhere. It was all around us,” he said. “It had spread from the car to the house and the smoke was thickening. I always hoped the fire brigade was there but they weren’t there yet and I ended up having to leave the house for my own safety.”
Colbert said he also tried to help the driver but left when the situation became too dangerous.
“We knew someone else was in there. You could kind of hear them making noises,” he said. “When 30 minutes passed and I still didn’t see a stretcher, I thought she was dead.”
By this time, most of the neighborhood residents had come out of their homes to see what was going on. Some tried to put out the flames with their garden hoses or fire extinguishers, but it didn’t work, according to Manpearl.
Manpearl then took the tenant back to his home, where neighbors brought her shoes and items for their pets.
“I had never met her before, but it didn’t matter,” he said. “She’s still a neighbor. It was exactly what I had to do.”
On Monday, the scene still bore the scars of the crash, when the hedge in front of the house had collapsed and the lawn was littered with a furry white cushion, a navy blue couch, pieces of wall and bricks.
The front door is boarded up and the house is surrounded with yellow caution tape.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-08-08/resident-recounts-crash-involving-anne-heche-mar-vista Residents recount crash involving actor Anne Heche