PESCADERO, Calif. - Stuck in mud and submerged under 4 feet of water, a wrecked Tesla could provide clues in a two-vehicle crash that claimed the lives of two people on the Peninsula.
"We put people in the water on the other side of this Lake Lucerne. They walked out, surveyed the area, and found out what we needed," said Captain Walter Williams, leader of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s dive team.
Over the course of two hours, divers attached two chains, then used a tow truck wench to pull the vehicle up a 10-foot embankment and onto Highway 1 near Bean Hallow State Beach.
"The thing about down there, if you get in trouble you’re pretty much on your own. And we generally operate with six divers, four to do the work and two to rescue. But today we only had three," said Williams.
Divers were confident the relatively shallow and calm waters made it safe for recovery.
This work came as a result of a two-vehicle, double fatal accident Tuesday night.
"There’s not always guard rails. And it seems like there are some places where you can go off the edge," said La Honda resident Rob Christian.
Investigators said the driver of a Subaru SUV traveling northbound on Highway 1 collided with the driver of a Tesla traveling southbound. Both vehicles went into an overflow area for Lake Lucerne.
Patricio Cabrera, 29, of San Francisco, and 66-year-old James Willis of Davenport, were killed in the crash. A third person, believed to be Willis’ wife, was airlifted to Stanford Medical Center in critical condition.
"This has happened in the past, a few different times. But not this bad. But it has happened," said area farmer Joe Muzzi. "(It’s) dangerous. But a lot of times people are speeding, and they’ll lose that turn there, and they’ll cause an accident."
Investigators are working to retrieve evidence from the Tesla that was recovered. They hope to determine which driver crossed the center line, causing the double-fatal accident.
Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on Twitter, @JesseKTVU and Instagram, @jessegontv.