The following incidents are submitted by the Quincy Area California Highway Patrol as a tentative summary pending the conclusion of the investigation(s).
Root bound, Sept. 13
At approximately 7 p.m., Tara Fellos, 35, of Greenville, was driving her 2002 silver Toyota Tacoma southbound on the dirt frontage road east of Highway 89, between the northern access point and the Greenville shooting range, at a stated 2 mph. She was transporting two passengers.
The driver was unfamiliar with the roadway. She was also having difficulty with the 4-wheel drive system in her Toyota and was intentionally looking for a steep dirt road to test/fix the drive system.
As Fellos was driving up a steep hill, she failed to see a large root that was exposed on the west side of the road. The right front wheel of the Tacoma struck the root. The impact destroyed the right front axle of the vehicle. The wheel became dislodged and stuck under the right rocker panel rendering the Toyota disabled. The truck was completely blocking the dirt roadway.
Fellos and her passengers were wearing their seat belts and were not hurt during the collision. They left the scene on foot. The driver intended to return with friends to help recover the vehicle on the morning of Sept. 15. Law enforcement was never contacted regarding this incident.
Fatigued driver, Sept. 21
At about 1:07 a.m., Jason Archambault, 46, of Chico, was driving his 2004 white GMC 2500 pickup truck southbound on Highway 89, approaching the Wolf Creek Underpass at an estimated 55 mph. According to the CHP report, the driver was fatigued and allowed his 2500 to drift off the right side of the roadway and onto the west dirt and gravel shoulder.
Archambault over-corrected to the left sending the pickup towards the northbound lane. He then over-corrected to the right. The truck entered into an uncontrollable clockwise yaw while skidding off the roadway and onto the west dirt and gravel shoulder. The vehicle then skidded over a very steep dirt embankment striking various bushes. The left side of the truck hit a moderately sized fir tree. This impact broke the tree and caused the 2500 to begin a rollover sequence. The pickup eventually struck a very large fir tree and came to rest upside down with its right side still in contact with the fir.
Archambault was able to kick out the right front passenger’s window and exit the 2500. It was very dark and there was no passing traffic. The driver went back into the vehicle, found his sleeping bag and slept in his truck until the sun came up.
Once the sun came up, a passing motorist saw the skid marks on the roadway and stopped at the scene. The motorist called down to the 2500. Archambault heard the calling and yelled up to the motorist. He exited the vehicle, climbed up the embankment and waited with the motorist until help arrived.
Archambault had been wearing his seat belt. This act saved him from serious injury. He was treated for minor injuries at Seneca District Hospital in Chester.
Fatality, Sept. 21
A 45-year-old resident of Springfield, Illinois, was riding a 2007 gray Suzuki Burgman 400 northbound on Highway 89, north of Cottonwood Road at about 45 mph. It was approximately 2:35 p.m.
For an unknown reason the rider allowed the motorcycle to leave the east edge of the road. The right side of the Suzuki struck a metal guardrail. The rider and the motorcycle continued northbound down the dirt and gravel, along the guardrail until the rider was ejected. The rider struck the asphalt roadway and came to rest within the northbound lane.
Other riders in the party and passing motorists stopped immediately to provide aide to the rider. Personnel from the Sierra County Sheriff Department, Sierraville Volunteer Fire Department, Truckee Fire Department, the United States Forest Service and Eastern Plumas Healthcare Ambulance also arrived and provided aid. The rider was pronounced deceased at the scene of the collision by the Sierra County Sheriff Office.
The cause of this collision is still under investigation by the Quincy CHP. The rider was wearing his helmet at the time and intoxication is not a factor in this collision. The name of the rider will be released pending proper notification to the next of kin.
For any further media inquiries about the collision, please contact the Quincy CHP office at 283-1100.