Saturday, 25 May 2024

Good Samaritan rescues man from burning Jeep

KELSEYVILLE – A good Samaritan's quick actions saved a Lower Lake man from a burning vehicle Monday.

Gary Hoertkorn of Kelseyville is credited with pulling 18-year-old Charles Barron from a Jeep that caught on fire after a single-vehicle collision, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Garcia.

Just after 3:30 p.m. Monday 18-year-old Arturo Cerna of Lower Lake was driving a 1993 Jeep northbound on Highway 29 north of Honey Cut Lane when his vehicle drifted onto the east shoulder, Garcia said. Barron was riding as a passenger in the Jeep.

Cerna attempted to correct the Jeep's path, which caused it to spin out of control. Garcia said the Jeep traveled across the southbound lane and off the west shoulder, rolling over as it traveled down a dirt embankment and collided with an oak tree.

The Jeep caught fire shortly after the collision, said Garcia.

That's when Hoertkorn came upon the collision and removed the severely injured Barron from the burning vehicle, Garcia said.

Garcia said the Jeep fire caused a small wildfire that was quickly put out by personnel from Kelseyville Fire Protection and Cal Fire.

Cerna was taken by ground ambulance to Sutter Lakeside Hospital where he was treated for moderate injuries, said Garcia, while Barron was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital by REACH air ambulance with major life-threatening injuries.

Garcia said it's unknown at this point if either Cerna or Barron was wearing their seatbelt.

The Jeep crash resulted in a temporary closure of Highway 29, as Lake County News has reported.

While traffic was stopped, another crash occurred, this one involving a motorcycle, said Garcia.

At 3:50 p.m. 65-year-old Everette Weller, riding a 2006 Harley Davidson northbound, came upon the stopped traffic. Garcia said Weller "aggressively attempted" to stop but was unable to avoid a collision.

Weller's motorcycle sideswiped a silver BMW driven by 66-year-old Steve Allison of Cobb and then collided with a 1988 Ford Ranger driven by 58-year-old Jerry Jones of Middletown, Garcia reported.

According to Garcia, Weller was then thrown to the pavement where he sustained major life-threatening injuries and was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital by REACH air ambulance.

Middletown resident Wendell Langford, who witnessed the crash along with his family, said he's concerned that authorities on the scene didn't have traffic control or flares in place, which may have prevented Weller's motorcycle crash.

Langford said traffic was stopped around a blind corner, which he said he had warned CHP and sheriff's deputies on the scene about before the crash occurred.

"This guy should have never been in this accident," Langford said.

Langford's concerns about the case have been sent to Officer Nick Powell, who Garcia said is investigating Weller's collision. Officer Steve Curtis is investigating the Jeep crash.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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