By Jim Reece – Donald J. Anderson, 70, of Volcano is facing charges of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and felony driving under the influence and may face stiffer charges related to the crash that killed a Fresno man and sent his teenage passenger to the hospital, a California Highway Patrol spokesman said Friday.
“We have really good witnesses that were behind him that saw the whole thing, so we have a pretty good case,” CHP said. They also recorded “arcing centrifugal skid-marks that go into the other lane.”
A gold colored 2002 Kia van driven by Anderson was seen driving erratically before the collision, witnesses told the CHP. Just before the crash, the eastbound Kia left the right side of Highway 88 and struck a reflective marker.
Anderson, due to intoxication, allowed his vehicle to drift to the right and leave the roadway, CHP said in a release. Anderson then over-corrected and allowed his vehicle to enter the westbound lane, colliding head-on with a 1990 Jeep driven by John Morock, 56, of Fresno. Morock was fatally injured and his passenger, a 15-year-old girl from Wallace, was taken by Lifeflight helicopter ambulance to University of California, Davis Medical Center and was in critical condition, the CHP said.
A CHP spokesman said the Jeep took the brunt of the collision and came to rest on a hill on the westbound side of the highway, below a field of grape vines. Traffic backed up and was detoured from the area as authorities closed Highway 88, near Lower Jackson Valley Road, as emergency responders and investigators worked the scene.
Anderson was taken by American Legion Ambulance to Sutter Amador Hospital due to his injuries.
Sutter Amador Hospital public relations liaison Jodi Boetzer said Anderson was admitted to the intensive care unit for observation. He was in fair condition at about 2 p.m. Friday.
The CHP said Anderson´s charges were pending the results of blood alcohol content tests and authorities were still awaiting such alcohol testing from another alleged DUI involving Anderson from a May 31 incident.
According to CHP reports, on May 31, Anderson crashed his vehicle into a vehicle driven by a Jackson Police Department officer´s wife at Ridge Road and Highway 88.
Anderson is already facing possible DUI charges from that May 31 vehicle collision, pending blood alcohol content test results. He was also reportedly was arrested for a DUI in 1999. Amador Superior Court records show a Jan. 20, 2000 arrest of a Donald James Anderson on charges of driving under the influence.
In both the May 31 and last Thursday´s incidents, CHP said Anderson allegedly attacked paramedics. He reportedly tried to punch a paramedic after the first accident.
After the accident Thursday night, Sutter Amador Hospital reportedly had to call authorities because Anderson was causing trouble at the hospital, CHP said.
CHP Public Information Officer Craig Harmon said Jackson Police Department Chief Scott Morrison and Sgt. Drew Stidger responded Thursday night to Sutter Amador Hospital in regard to Anderson.
The CHP spokesman said Anderson is a retired police officer.
Harmon said Anderson tried to refuse treatment at the scene Thursday but American Legion Ambulance personnel treated him anyway.
The investigation continues and further charges are pending. Harmon said Morock´s death was the 10th traffic fatality of the year in Amador County.
Reprinted with permission- Amador Ledger Dispatch