SANTA CRUZ -- A 19-year-old woman who crashed into a tree on East Cliff Drive was pulled from her burning car by a California Highway Patrol officer Tuesday night.
Brianna Delaney, of Morgan Hill, crashed while driving a 2006 Mercury Milan west on East Cliff Drive west of Prospect Street about 9:35 p.m., California Highway Patrol officer Sarah Jackson said.
Delaney was under the influence, texting and driving more than 45 mph in a 25 mph zone, Jackson said.
Delaney lost control and struck a eucalyptus tree. The car caught fire and Delaney was trapped in the driver's seat.
CHP officer Chad Jessee arrived and pulled Delaney from the car through the back seat. Authorities extinguished the flames.
Delaney was transported to Dominican Hospital with moderate injuries.
She was released from the hospital and booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on suspicion of DUI, officers said. Authorities have not said what substance allegedly impaired Delaney because the CHP report is not complete.
East Cliff Drive was closed for about 40 minutes. The car's front end sustained major damage.
Jackson said she had seen four previous DUI collisions near that stretch of East Cliff Drive. People often drive too fast when they are impaired, she said.
"If they're not going the speed limit, they're not going to be able to negotiate that turn in the road," Jackson said.
Authorities commonly cite drivers for speeding in that area, she
Jessee was close to the crash site when he responded. Central firefighters also responded.
"We're proud of our officers when they do things like this to make the public safer," Jackson said. "This young driver's momentary decisions could have had permanent consequences."
Follow Sentinel reporter Stephen Baxter on Twitter at Twitter.com/sbaxter_sc