Two injured, one airlifted, after fiery Burney crash

CORRECTION: Early reports and a CHP incident log indicated the airlifted victim was transported by Mercy Air Ambulance; however, sources familiar with the investigation say that SEMSA Air 2 from Adin was the helicopter that transported female driver to Mercy Medical Center in Redding.

BURNEY — Two Burney locals were injured, including one who was life-flighted with serious injuries, after a two-vehicle, broadside collision earlier today, Saturday, Aug. 3. The suspected DUI crash, which caused one of the vehicles to catch fire, happened in the area of SR-299E and Tamarack Ave., near Las Colinas Mobile Estates, in Burney.


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CHP, Burney Mountain Station sheriff’s deputies, and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene of the crash shortly after 4:30 p.m., after receiving reports of the collision, according to a CHP incident log.

911 callers reported both vehicles came to rest off the roadway, but that vehicle parts and debris were partially blocking the lanes of travel along the winding, two-lane mountain roadway. Callers also told emergency dispatchers one of the vehicles had caught fire and that the two drivers, who were the sole occupants of the vehicles other than a dog, were injured in the collision.

When officials arrived they found the two heavily damaged vehicles, described as a maroon Dodge Durango SUV and a second maroon car. The Dodge was still on fire, but firefighters managed to quickly extinguish the flames before they could spread to area vegetation.

Based on one of the victims injuries, an air ambulance was immediately requested to the scene.

A sheriff’s official surveys the scene of a two vehicle wreck that hospitalized both drivers, one of whom was airlifted to Mercy Medical Center in Redding with serious injuries. Rachel Dunlap photo

One of the victims, later identified as Marcus Hilton, was transported to Mayers Memorial Hospital in Fall River Mills by CHP; while the other victim was airlifted to Mercy Medical Center in Redding. The full extent of the victims’ injuries had not been released as of this report.

Hilton’s daughter, Rachel Dunlap, later told SCNS she heard about the crash when she began to receive frantic phone calls and messages from friends that her father had been involved in a fiery crash. She raced to the scene to be with her father, but he had already been transported to Mayers by the time she arrived.

According to Dunlap, her father and his dog had been heading home from the Jack Rabbit Flats swimming hole when the crash happened.

“Sgt. Sinclair (of Shasta County Sheriff’s Department) said my dad was heading west on 299 when the other vehicle pulled out right in front of his SUV, heading into Las Colinas Mobile Estates,” Dunlap explained. “I guess my dad didn’t have enough time to stop and his truck ‘T-Boned’ the woman’s vehicle.”

Dunlap also said her father’s mixed-breed dog was uninjured in the collision and was back home with her.

Early reports from the scene and family members of the victims indicate alcohol intoxication may have been a contributing factor in the collision. Toxicology tests, the results of which have not yet been released, will later determine if either or both drivers were intoxicated when the crash occurred.

“He’s a good man and we’ve all made mistakes,” Dunlap tearfully told SCNS. “But I’m just so glad they’re all ok.”

Contacted for further information about the collision, a CHP representative said the investigation is active and ongoing at the scene and that no further details could be released at that time.

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

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

Rachel Dunlap photos

Ken VonTersch photos

Contact the writer:

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 currently writes for or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, the (now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Hemet & San Jacinto 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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