By Larry Judkins
Glenn County Observer
Early in the afternoon of Thursday, June 9, the Orland Volunteer Fire Department was called to provide mutual aid with a vegetation fire along Interstate 5 in Tehama County south of Corning.
At about 1:20 p.m. or so, First Assistant Chief John McDermott was released from the scene and began driving a water tender down Highway 99 to the fire station.
Suddenly, he got on the radio to the fire dispatcher and requested that the California Highway Patrol be called to the area, as there was a recreational vehicle that was being driven “all over the highway.” McDermott later said the camper was even travelling into the oncoming, northbound lane.
A couple of minutes after his first call, McDermott got on the radio again to report that the RV had just collided with a vehicle on Highway 99, just south of County Road 8.
According to the CHP’s news release, at about 1:30 p.m., Charles Rice, 39, of Red Bluff, was driving a 1986 Toyota Dolphin south on Highway 99, south of Road 8, at about 55 miles per hour. Braiden Spencer, 18, of Orland, was driving a 2005 BMW X5 south on Highway 99, south of Road 8, and was slowing for a vehicle in front of him that was making a left turn into a private driveway.
Due to Rice’s unsafe speed for the slowing traffic in front of him, along with his inattention to the roadway due to looking down at his radio, he allowed the front of his Toyota to collide with the rear of Spencer’s BMW. Both vehicles pulled over to the side of the road after the collision.
Both drivers were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the accidents. Rice was not injured and Spencer sustained only minor injuries consisting of a complaint of pain.
Neither driver was arrested, although field sobriety tests and a Preliminary Alcohol Screening test were administered to Rice.