Shasta Lake woman survives being dragged 50 feet under pickup that ran her over

CITY OF SHASTA LAKE, Calif., — Authorities say a local woman is lucky to be alive after she was struck by a pickup truck that then dragged her about fifty feet in Shasta Lake early Thursday evening, Oct. 21. The accident occurred while driver was making a left turn, and the driver has since said he did not see the woman in front of his lifted pickup truck when he began to make his turn and struck her.

Officials do not suspect intoxication on the part of the driver in the vehicle versus pedestrian collision, which happened at the intersection of Shasta Dam Boulevard (SR-151) and Oregon Avenue.


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Shasta County sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers, along with Cal Fire and other emergency personnel, were dispatched to the scene around 5 p.m. after the involved driver called 911 and reported the collision, Shasta County Sheriff’s Sergeant Bodner reported this morning.

The distraught caller told SHASCOM emergency dispatchers that the female victim was still trapped under his pickup truck after being dragged down the roadway and said she was unconscious and unresponsive.

The driver of a pickup truck that struck and dragged a pedestrian while making a left turn last night is seen speaking with officials during their collision investigation. KRCR News Channel 7 images

When officials arrived they found a Chevy pickup truck pulled over on the side of the road and soon located an injured woman, since identified as Jennifer Culkins, 39, trapped underneath the vehicle.

Firefighters found Culkins conscious and alert, and immediately began assisting her from under the pickup while treating her injuries, since described as moderate. After being pulled from under the vehicle, she was transported to an area hospital for further treatment. Her current condition was not immediately available.

During their subsequent investigation, which was aided by CHP, deputies learned the driver of the pickup truck, 42-year-old William Smith, had been driving southbound on Oregon Avenue in heavy rain when he stopped at Shasta Dam Boulevard in preparation of making a left turn.

As Smith began to make his turn onto eastbound Shasta Dam Boulevard, he was unaware that Culkins had walked in front of his vehicle while crossing the street and struck her, according to Bodner; who said the impact forced the woman under the pickup.

As the truck drove over Culkins, a backpack she was wearing reportedly became caught by the Chevy’s undercarriage, and she was dragged about 50 feet down the roadway before Williams became aware he had possibly struck and was dragging something.

When he pulled over and checked under his pickup he discovered Culkins trapped and injured under the passenger side of the vehicle and immediately called 911.

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Although officials have ruled out drug or alcohol intoxication on the part of the involved driver, Culkins’ intoxication level at the time of the collision was unknown.

While officials worked at the scene, they called for the temporary closure of Shasta Dam Blvd and traffic was re-routed onto other nearby streets.

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office has since used the opportunity to remind drivers “to be vigilant and observant of other vehicle and pedestrian traffic during inclement weather as visibility is greatly reduced during heavy rain.”

SCSO’s investigation is continuing and no further details have been released.

Anyone with further information regarding this incident is encouraged to call SHASCOM at (530) 245-6540. Callers can refer to incident file number 21S034490 and can remain anonymous.

Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 50, 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.

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