Alleged Cottonwood drunk driver hospitalized, arrested after hit and run

COTTONWOOD — An alleged drunk driver who officials say fled after striking a guard rail was hospitalized and later arrested last night, after witnesses chased the driver’s vehicle nearly five miles before the fleeing SUV plowed into a tree in Cottonwood.

The initial hit and run happened on westbound on Bowman Rd. at Pine Creek bridge and the second collision happened on Bowman Rd. west of Little Beach Ln., according to California Highway Patrol.


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Kenneth Dehay, 55, of Cottonwood, was arrested at Mercy Medical Center but released at the hospital so he could receive medical treatment for injuries he sustained in the two collisions, CHP Officer Reineman later explained in a phone interview with SCNS.

CHP was first notified about the crash shortly before 9 p.m., after receiving reports of a possible hit and run.

911 callers told emergency dispatchers that a vehicle, described as a mid-size SUV, had drifted to the left into the opposing lanes of travel while driving westbound on Bowman Rd. and struck a guard rail. Callers reported seeing sparks flying from the SUV, which was last seen heading westbound on Bowman from Farquar Rd.

As officers began converging on the area in an attempt to intercept the fleeing vehicle, 911 callers reported that several motorists and witnesses were following the vehicle and attempting to get the driver, later identified as Dehay, to pull over.

Several minutes later a 911 caller updated from their home that a man with a flashlight was chasing the fleeing vehicle and that five vehicles were also following the SUV.

911 callers updated at 9:26 p.m. that the fleeing vehicle had plowed head-on into a tree and sustained major front-end damage. Callers also reported Dehay was injured in the collision.

The first officer to arrive at the scene within minutes and advised finding the wrecked SUV off the roadway against a tree and also updated that about 30 feet of barbed wire was torn down.

Officials requested an ambulance to the scene for Dehay as well as a flat bed tow truck to the scene to remove the heavily damaged SUV from the area.

Dehay was eventually transported to Mercy for treatment of unspecified injuries and he was arrested and released to receive treatment, according to Reineman, who said CHP would be filing charges against him for DUI. The initial hit and run is still under investigation, according to the officer.


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Trevor Montgomery, 47, recently moved to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 14 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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