UPDATE: More details released after SR-89 crash that killed toddler, seriously injured five others
UPDATED: Saturday, May 1, 4:45 p.m.
See Original Story below.
BURNEY, Calif. — Officials have released additional information about last night’s deadly solo-vehicle crash that killed a two-year-old boy and sent all five other occupants, including three additional children, to various hospitals via air ambulances. The deadly crash happened on SR-89 south of Clark Creek Road, near Burney Falls State Park, northeast of the unincorporated Intermountain community of Burney.
Although the driver admitted to officers at the scene that he had been drinking prior to the accident and “smelled heavily of alcohol,” according to CHP Officer Chris Ogden – who investigated the cause of the fatal crash – the father was later determined to have not been under the influence at the time of the accident.
LEADING THE SCNS HEADLINES:
Officer Ogden told SCNS today that the family of six was returning to their home in Reno, Nevada after visiting family in Roseburg, Oregon when the deadly crash occurred shortly after 7:30 p.m.
Officials who responded to the crash found a 2013 Honda Pilot that had left the highway and crashed head-on into a tree. Officials found a total of six victims, including a two-year-old boy who had already succumbed to his injuries and passed away at the scene. His name has not yet been released.
In addition to the deceased toddler, officials found a father and mother; as well as two boys, ages three and six, and a five-year-old girl.
Based on the severity of the victims’ injuries, numerous air ambulances were requested to the scene. Several ground ambulances were also requested to assist in transporting the injured to different area landing zones, so they could be airlifted to three different hospitals, including Mercy, UC Davis, and Enloe.
The father who was driving the vehicle, since identified as Robert Updyke, 29, of Reno, Nevada later told Ogden and other officials he had been heading southbound on SR-89 when a deer ran across the roadway directly into the path of his oncoming Honda.
Swerving to avoid hitting the dear, Updyke’s vehicle left the roadway where it then smashed head-on into a large tree, Ogden told SCNS this afternoon.
Although driving under the influence was initially suspected “due to a number of factors,” Ogden today told SCNS the father was tested, but determined to have been “well below the legal limit.” He also said that DUI charges were not being considered and was determined to not be a contributing factor in the fatal crash. The father’s injuries have since been described as moderate and Ogden said he was the last of the five surviving victims to be airlifted from the scene.
The mother and daughter’s injuries were not considered life-threatening; however, the two boys suffered severe to critical injuries, according to Ogden. Their injuries included major head trauma, multiple suspected fractures, and other traumatic injuries, and both were considered the most seriously injured of the surviving victims.
Ogden explained to SCNS that one of the factors that remain under investigation is the fact that there were more occupants in the vehicle than available seat belts and that one or more of the children did not appear to have been properly buckled into the vehicle when the crash occurred.
“That’s one of the critical factors we are still looking into,” said Ogden.
Due to the possibility that some of the children may not have been properly buckled into their seats and “other inconsistencies” in Updyke’s explanation of how the solo-vehicle crash occurred, the family’s Honda was impounded as evidence and will be undergoing thorough forensic analysis and further examination, according to Ogden.
“We’ll really be looking at the family’s vehicle to determine exactly what happened last night; such as how fast the vehicle was traveling, whether the driver braked before hitting the tree, and whether the children were properly seat-belted when the crash occurred,” Ogden said.
The children’s car seats have also been taken as evidence as part of CHP’s crash investigation, which is active and ongoing, according to Ogden; who said no further details were available at this time.
Anyone who may have witnessed the crash and has not yet provided a statement is encouraged to contact CHP Officer Chris Ogden at (530) 225-0500. Callers can remain anonymous.
Original Story: UPDATED: Five trauma alerts life-flighted, one dead, after SR-89 crash near Burney
UPDATED: Friday, April 30, 9 p.m., With additional details.
Writer’s Note – CHP has not yet released any official details regarding this collision and all the information as reported was gathered from several resources, including official radio traffic, CHP’s CAD incident log, and other sources at the scene or familiar with the crash. Due to the breaking nature of this article, some details could change as more information is released.
Originally Published Friday, April 30, 8:32 p.m.
BURNEY, Calif. — Several agencies are at the scene or are continuing to head to the scene of a fatal traffic collision that just occurred on SR-89 south of Clark Creek Road, near Burney Falls State Park, northeast of the unincorporated Intermountain community of Burney, according to multiple sources.
CHP, Cal Fire-Shasta, and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the accident around 7:38 p.m. after receiving reports of a Honda sedan that struck a tree, according to a CHP incident log. The 911 caller reported there were multiple victims, including a man, woman, and four juveniles inside the vehicle.
Those injured in the crash included a male toddler, age two, who had already passed away at the scene.
Official radio traffic, since confirmed by CHP, indicates six people were found inside the heavily-damaged vehicle; including a 29-year-old male driver and father of the family and a 26-year-old mother. Four juvenile passengers, including three boys, ages two, three and six, and a five-year-old girl were also in the vehicle. All the surviving occupants were expected to be life-flighted as trauma alerts with injuries including multiple suspected fractures, major head trauma, and other serious injuries.
Due to an extended ETA for CHP, a Park Ranger was paged out from nearby Burney Falls State Park and was one of the first law enforcement agencies at the scene, arriving after area fire and rescue personnel.
At 8:18 p.m., CHP requested deputies from the Shasta County Sheriff’s Burney Patrol Station to respond to the scene to assist with traffic control. Official radio traffic at the time indicated that CHP was still headed to the location with a fifteen minute ETA.
Officials at the scene updated having five trauma alert patients and initially requested several air ambulances and multiple ground ambulances.
All five surviving victims were expected to be airlifted as trauma alerts. As of this update, some of the victims had been life-flighted to Mercy Hospital in Redding, while arrangements were continuing for two other victims to be airlifted to UC Davis and Enloe.
No further details were immediately available regarding CHP’s investigation, which remains active and ongoing at the scene.
This is a developing story that will be updated as new information becomes available.
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Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).
Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.
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 30 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 18 grandchildren.