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Update: Driver Flees Scene Following Calaveras Crash

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Update at 5 p.m.: The CHP has found the driver involved in a hit and run crash yesterday afternoon in Calveras County along Highway 26 near the intersection of Centennial Mine Road. He is 54-year-old Joseph Shortal of West Point.  His Suburban smashed into a 2001 Ford that was pulling out of a driveway onto the highway. The driver was 73-year-old Mark Stebbins of Stockton who suffered minor injuries in the wreck.  After the collision Shortal took off on foot from the scene.  Officer Toby Butzler revealed how Shortal was caught stating, “Some witnesses were able to positively identify him through a photo line up as the driver. He was ultimately contacted today and admitted his involvement.” Drugs and alcohol were suspected in the wreck, according to Butzler, who adds that the lapse of time between catching up with Shortal will make it hard to prove. Shortal has not been arrested as Butzler notes that the complaint has yet to be filed and he will likely face felony hit and run charges.

Original post at 10:26 a.m.: Valley Springs, CA — The CHP is looking for an unidentified man that was involved in a crash in Calaveras County yesterday afternoon.

It happened along Highway 26 near intersection of Centennial Mine Road. At around 3pm, CHP Officer Toby Butzler reports that 73-year-old Mark Stebbins of Stockton turned his 2001 Ford from the driveway of a private property onto westbound Highway 26. He glanced both directions and saw no other vehicles as he started to turn.

However, the unidentified driver of a 1978 Chevy Suburban came around a curve on eastbound Highway 26, saw the turning vehicle of Stebbins, and slammed on the brakes. The Suburban drifted into the westbound lane and the two vehicles eventually collided. Stebbins suffered minor injuries during the incident and was taken by ambulance to Sutter Amador Hospital.

The CHP says the driver of the Suburban unexpectedly left the scene on foot. The collision is still under investigation, and the individual in the Suburban is wanted for questioning in regards to the crash and potential felony hit and run charges. The CHP has a suspect they believe may be responsible but has not released his name at this time. Anyone with information about the incident can call the CHP at 209-754-3541.

Why the driver left the scene is unclear. When asked, Officer Butzler noted the abandoned Suburban was not stolen, however, it did have very expired registration tags.

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