Drunken Snapchatting leads to Redding crash, downed power lines

REDDING —  Already on probation for a prior DUI, a Redding man was arrested again after losing control of his vehicle and mowing down two power poles late Thursday night, April 11. The downed poles caused the power lines to come down across the top of the vehicle, which sparked a small brush fire around the wrecked sedan.

Last night’s crash, which knocked out power to the surrounding neighborhoods for several hours, happened at the intersection of Old Oregon Trl. and Rancho Rd.

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Redding Police and Fire Departments, along with other emergency personnel, were dispatched to the solo-vehicle crash around 11:25 p.m., Redding Police Sergeant Brian Cole later said. 911 callers reported that power poles had been knocked down and power lines were resting on top of a Nissan Murano. Callers also reported that a small vegetation fire had started as a result of the downed power lines.

When officials arrived they found the wrecked Nissan and its driver, later identified as 21-year-old, Justin James Knapp.

Justin Knapp, 21, was arrested after officials say he admitted to Snapchatting with his girlfriend in the moments before he plowed head-on into at least one power pole. The impact sheared the pole in half, sparked a vegetation fire, and knocked out power to surrounding neighborhoods for several hours. Redding PD photo

Firefighters quickly extinguished the brush fire and then worked to extricate Knapp’s dog, which was left trapped inside the mangled wreckage of the SUV. The dog was later turned over to Animal Control officers.

Officers who investigated the cause of the crash interviewed Knapp, who admitted that just before losing control of his vehicle and driving off the roadway he had been Snapchatting with his girlfriend.

“Knapp was found to be under the influence of alcohol at a level where he was unable to safely operate a motor vehicle,” explained Cole. Officers also learned Knapp was already on probation for a prior driving under the influence arrest.

Already on probation for a previous DUI, Knapp was arrested again for driving under the influence of alcohol and violation of probation. Redding PD photo

Based on his admissions and their investigation, officers arrested Knapp and transported him to an area hospital for a medical clearance required for booking. He was then booked into Shasta County Jail on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and violation of probation.

Redding Electric Utility responded to assist with the downed power lines and to restore power to the surrounding neighborhoods, which reportedly took several hours.

Anyone with information about this investigation or who witnessed the crash and has not yet provided a statement is encouraged to contact Redding PD at (530) 225-4200. Callers can refer to incident file number 19R022988 and can remain anonymous.


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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