Monday, 15 July 2024

Woman dies in three-vehicle crash on Highway 20 Sunday

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A burned pickup facing the embankment where the remains of a destroyed motorhome were located following a crash and fire near Paradise Cove between Lucerne and Clearlake Oaks, Calif., on Sunday, July 18, 2010. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.


 

 

 

 

 



PARADISE VALLEY – A three-vehicle collision on Highway 20 Sunday afternoon claimed one woman's life and sparked a grass fire, with the roadway closed several hours as firefighters worked at the scene.


The incident, dispatched at around 1:30 p.m., occurred on the highway above the Paradise Cove subdivision.


California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Crutcher, the crash's investigating officer, said a motorhome traveling westbound veered into the eastbound lane and broadsided a Chevrolet Equinox SUV on the driver's side, killing the female driver.


The motorhome then traveled a short way further, colliding head-on with a full-size pickup that Crutcher said had been traveling eastbound behind the Equinox.


Following that second collision, the motorhome went over the embankment and the pickup was left pointing toward the steep embankment above the subdivision. The motorhome burned to the ground, with the pickup also destroyed by fire. Firefighters continued to spray down both vehicles and the charred ground.


The collision sparked a small wildland fire which burned both sides of the roadway, jumping over to the hillside from the ignition point at the crash area, according to Miguel Lanigan, a Lake County News contributing photographer who was on the scene.


The fire made a run up the hill into oak trees and high grass, where Northshore Fire Battalion Chief Pat Brown said five acres were burned.

 

 

 

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A Cal Fire helicopter with a water tank hovers over the fire scene near Paradise Cove between Lucerne and Clearlake Oaks, Calif., on Sunday, July 18, 2010. Photo by Tinna Morlatt.
 

 

 


Brown said several good Samaritans – a number of young men who came up to the scene from Paradise Cove – pulled the motorhome driver out of the vehicle, then took him to a home and assisted Northshore Fire Paramedic Chrissy Pittman with caring for the man.


The young men placed wet towels on the man's burns “and were a very great help to Chrissy as other firefighters were stopping the fire and helping other victims,” Brown said.

 

The CHP said the motorhome's driver was that vehicle's only occupant.

 


Crutcher said the pickup's three occupants escaped with only minor injuries, while REACH air ambulance transported the male Equinox passenger to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital via REACH and the elderly male motorhome driver to UC Davis Medical Center with burns and other injuries.


A large multiagency response was on scene for the incident, with Cal Fire and Northshore Fire running a joint incident command, Brown said.


Brown said Northshore Fire Protection District sent three medics, four engines, a water tender, two battalion chiefs – he and Steve Hart – and Chief Jim Robbins, who directed the landing of the air ambulances at Cal Fire's Clearlake Oaks station.


Cal Fire reported that it sent seven engines, two crews, two dozers, an air attack plane, two air tankers and two helicopters.

 

The helicopters carried water and the fixed-wing plane used retardant on the fire, according to witnesses.\

 

Sharri Moore estimated that the helicopter made 20 or more passes after scooping up water from Clear Lake.

 

 

 

 

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Cal Fire hand crews worked on a hillside above Highway 20 that caught fire as the result a fatal three-vehicle collision on Sunday, July 18, 2010, in Lake County, Calif. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.
 

 

 


The hand crews worked on the hillside, cutting down trees and fighting the fire there, with mop up continuing for several hours. A dozer worked along the base of the hill, cutting through the charred earth.


Other agencies assisting included Lakeport Fire Protection District and Lake County Fire Protection, which provided a medic unit and a water tender, respectively, under a mutual aid agreement, and the US Forest Service, Brown said.


Lake County Sheriff's deputies also were on hand to assist with scene control and with the removal of the fatality.


Several CHP officers were on scene to assist Crutcher with the investigation, conducting measurements and photographing the scene.


Traffic was backed up for miles on either side of the crash, with some of the motorists who were caught closer to the crash scene pulling out lawn chairs to sit in the shade as they waited. Dozens of other drivers turned around.


Caltrans had road closures in place at Lucerne and Clearlake Oaks.

 

 

 

 

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The motorhome was burned down to the group after it collided with two vehicles and went over an embankment on Highway 20 in Lake County, Calif., on Sunday, July 18, 2010. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.
 

 

 

 


After 5 p.m. the remainder of the units on the scene were being released, according to radio reports.


CHP officials said a full report with more specifics on the crash and the extent of injuries will be released later Sunday.


Brown said Northshore Fire wanted to find the young men who helped rescue the motorhome driver so the district could thank them. Anyone with information about the identities of the young people can call Northshore Fire Protection's headquarters in Lucerne, 707-274-3100.


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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California Highway Patrol officers survey the scene of a fatal three-vehicle collision on Sunday, July 18, 2010, along Highway 20 in Lake County, Calif. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.
 

 

 

 

 

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A Cal Fire plane drops fire retardant on the small wildland fire that broke out after a Sunday afternoon crash on Highway 20 in Lake County, Calif. Photo taken by Savannah Bowers from a boat on Clear Lake.

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