Drunk driver plows into popular Burney restaurant

JOHNSON PARK, Calif. — Authorities say a local woman suspected of driving under the influence was arrested after she struck several barrier poles before hitting Chatty Kathy’s, a popular Johnson Park restaurant located just east of Burney, this afternoon, Monday, July 27.

The DUI crash, which caused minor damage to the structure, also destroyed the business’s gas, electric, and water lines; and the restaurant is now closed until further notice, pending necessary repairs.

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CHP, Shasta County Sheriff’s – Burney Station, Cal Fire-Shasta and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene at 12:51 p.m., after receiving reports of a vehicle that struck the rear corner of the building, according to a CHP incident log.

The 911 caller reported the business’s gas meter was destroyed by the impact and that employees and customers at the restaurant had already evacuated the building as a precaution.

Chatty Kathy’s owner, Kathy Ragsdale, speaks with a sheriff’s Sgt. about the collision that forced the temporary closure of the popular restaurant. Robin and Amber Montgomery/SCNS photo

When officials arrived they found a newer, blue Honda Accord that had crashed through several barrier poles protecting the corner of the restaurant and its utility lines.

During their subsequent investigation CHP determined the driver, whose name has not yet been released, was under the influence and she was subsequently arrested, according to witnesses.

The driver reportedly told officers, employees, and others at the scene that she was pulling into one of the restaurant’s parking spaces when her flip flops got stuck on her car’s accelerator, causing her to accelerate into the poles and crash into the rear corner of the building.

After the crash the restaurant’s owner Kathy Ragsdale told SCNS the woman who struck the building was a local resident and regular customer at the business.

Ragsdale also said the crash left her restaurant dark and without any utilities; and that the business will remain closed until all the needed repairs can be made. She did not have an estimate on how long those repairs could take.

A PG&E official continues working at the scene of this afternoon’s DUI-related crash. Robin and Amber Montgomery/SCNS photo

“It’s just sad because I’ve got all the firefighters I feed and make lunches for the next day,” Ragsdale explained. “But now I can’t until the repairs are completed and our business is re-opened.”

The driver’s car was later pulled off the destroyed poles and her vehicle was towed from the scene.

PG&E and other utility officials were notified and have since responded to the scene, and workers were continuing repairs as of this report.


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Robin and Amber Montgomery/SCNS photos


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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; 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 29 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 16 grandchildren.

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