Tuesday, 16 April 2024

UPDATE: CHP reports on fatal Wednesday Blue Lakes crash

BLUE LAKES – A young Lakeport man lost his life and three others were injured in an early morning crash that occurred near Blue Lakes.


Jared Templeton, 21, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash after being trapped underwater in a vehicle that went into Blue Lakes at about 2:20 a.m. Wednesday, according to the California Highway Patrol.


CHP Officer Steve Tanguay said Heather Thompson, 22, of Lakeport was driving her 1988 Ford Thunderbird westbound on Highway 20, just west of Blue Lakes Road, with Templeton, 23-year-old Zachary Walston of Lakeport and 21-year-old Kathleen Riley of Kelseyville riding in the car with her.


The CHP reported that there was a light rain occurring at the time of the crash.


As Thompson's vehicle was coming out of a righthand curve in the roadway, she lost control of the Thunderbird, which veered to the left and went off of the roadway and struck a tree south of the roadway, according to the report. The vehicle continued out of control to the south and went into Blue Lakes.


As the vehicle began to submerge into the lake, Thompson, Walston and Riley – all of whom were wearing seat belts – were able to get out of the vehicle and made it safely to the shore, Tanguay reported.


However, for an unknown reason, Templeton – who was sitting in the front right seat of the vehicle and also was belted into his seat – couldn't escape, officials reported.


Walston and Riley attempted to dive down to the vehicle to get Templeton out, but due to the depth and temperature of the water, they were unsuccessful, Tanguay said.


Northshore Fire Protection District, assisted by Lakeport Fire, sent a large number of resources to the scene, according to Northshore Fire Battalion Chief Pat Brown.


He said the agency responded to the scene with its dive rescue team, three engines from its Upper Lake and Lucerne stations, three advanced life support ambulances from Upper Lake, Nice and Lucerne, a rope/extrication rescue from Clearlake Oaks and two battalion chiefs. Lakeport Fire also sent a medic unit, for a total of 16 rescue personnel on scene.


Brown said when the rescue teams arrived, the vehicle was submerged 15 feet below the surface of the water, just before the narrow section of Upper Blue Lakes.


Northshore Fire crews conducted a low angle rope system down the embankment, which required using chainsaws to remove trees and brush and establish lights, Brown said.


The Northshore Dive Team got into the water and reached the vehicle at 3:30 a.m., said Brown. The CHP's report on the collision stated that rescuers couldn't reach Templeton's body while the car was submerged.


Brown said dive team members attached tow cables and begun the process of removing the vehicle. A tow truck was used to pull the Thunderbird up out of the lake, Tanguay said.


Fire officials pronounced Templeton dead at the scene, according to the report.


Brown said Northshore Fire transported Thompson, Walston and Riley to Sutter Lakeside Hospital by Upper Lake Fire ambulance for minor to moderate injuries sustained in the collision.


Tanguay said alcohol is not considered to be a factor in the crash.


Northshore Fire Incident Command contacted the state Department of Fish and Game, Lake County Environmental Health, the Office of Emergency Services and worked with the Lake County Sheriff's Office for a possible hazardous materials spill into Blue Lakes, Brown said.


The Lake County Sheriff's Patrol and booms were ready if a film was present at daylight, he said.


The Department of Fish and Game, which took the lead on the hazmat operation, cleared Northshore Fire at 7:15 a.m., Brown reported.


CHP Officer Josh Dye is investigating the collision, according to the report.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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