Woman airlifted after trapped overnight in SUV that plowed into old Hat Creek Fire Hall

UPDATED: Sunday, Dec. 9, 12 p.m., With photos from scene.

HAT CREEK — A woman who managed to pull herself from her wrecked rental vehicle is headed to a rendezvous point in Burney where she is expected to be airlifted to Mercy Medical Center in Redding, according to official radio traffic and a California Highway Patrol incident log. The victim reportedly managed to make it two-tenths of a mile to the nearest occupied home after crashing into the old Hat Creek Fire Hall “sometime last night.”

The building the woman plowed into, reported by a 911 caller and on scene emergency personnel to be the “old Fire Hall” across from the Hat Creek Post Office on the 18600 block of Hwy. 89 north of Doty Rd., has sustained major structural damage and officials at the scene fear the entire building could collapse when the victim’s wrecked SUV is pulled from inside the heavily-damaged building.

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CHP, Cal Fire, and other emergency personnel, were first alerted to the solo-vehicle crash and woman’s injuries about 4:45 p.m., when she showed up at a Hat Creek home on the 18500 block of Hwy. 89, south of Doty Rd. The stunned 911 caller told CHP emergency dispatchers that the victim reported crashing sometime last night, and that she had been drifting in and out of consciousness inside her wrecked SUV since the accident. 

The “old Hat Creek Fire Hall” was destroyed after a truck plowed into it sometime over the last 24 hours. SNCS photo

Although the victim said she was initially trapped inside the mangled wreckage of the Dodge – as overnight temperatures dipped into the low-30s – she reported she had eventually managed to self-extricate herself from both the destroyed SUV as well as the heavily-damaged building.

She told the 911 caller she then wandered south along and then across Hwy 89 and past the closed post office, looking for an occupied home from where she could seek help.

While ambulance crews and paramedics were dispatched to the home where the victim managed to walk to and find help, other fire officials responded to the area of the wreck.

A Battalion Commander soon confirmed finding a heavily-damaged Dodge Journey that had crashed into the fire hall structure, which is situated east of the highway, on a sweeping curve along the rural, two-lane mountain road. A white, full-size Chevy pickup truck that had been parked inside the building was also damaged.

Based on the victim’s injuries, a life-flight air ambulance was requested to be placed on stand-by for a potential medical airlift. Reach Air Ambulance’s Med Flight 45 was later launched to the area, with intentions to meet with the victim at the Burney Sheriff’s Sub -Station, where she was still being transported by ground ambulance as of this report.

PG&E officials have been summoned to the scene to shut off utilities to the damaged building and a wrecker was also asked to respond to pull the rented SUV from inside the building.

Shortly before 6:30 p.m., fire officials at the scene of the accident reported that multiple fire apparatus would remain committed at the fire hall, pending the arrival of CHP and the SUV’s successful removal from the structure. All other resources have been released from the scene and returned to service.

CHP’s investigation is still active and ongoing at the scene and officials have not yet released any information regarding the crash or their investigation.

This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is available.

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year 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 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.


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