Auburn’s Machado farm-family member killed in Bowman ATV crash

Three-wheeler ATV left road, crashed into Sylvan Vista Drive house
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - A member of Bowman’s Machado farming family was killed this weekend after the all-terrain vehicle he was riding veered off the road on a steep and sudden “S” turn.

Buster Machado, 21, was alone and riding the off-road-only Honda three-wheeler on Sylvan Vista Drive in Bowman when he apparently lost control, skidded across a driveway and was pitched down a hill onto a brick walkway.

The all-terrain vehicle continued on and hit a house, according to the California Highway Patrol report released Monday. 

Machado was last seen leaving Joe Caribe Bistro and Grill on East Lincoln Way at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

His mother, Laura Ferreira, told the Journal on Sunday that family and friends were celebrating at the restaurant before his departure. His body was found Sunday morning.

Ferreira said Machado was returning to her home, where he was staying – located about a quarter of a mile from the restaurant. Initial reports related to the Journal were that he had left from nearby Lou La Bonte’s but Highway Patrol Officer Eric Karla said Monday that he had left Joe Caribe.

Machado is a great-grandson of Joseph Machado, who founded Machado Orchards in 1923. The orchard and Apple Barn have played a prominent role in the Auburn-area and Placer County agricultural and business community for nearly 90 years.

“He was an exceptional young man who was loved by many,” Laura Machado said. “He will always be my boy.”

Machado’s body was found by a resident outside the house at 8 a.m.

The homeowner said she had heard a ‘bang’ in the night, around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Karla said.

Indications from skid marks pointed to the three-wheeler locking a wheel and then skidding across a dry driveway toward an embankment. Machado fell or tumbled about 20 feet down. There was no helmet where Machado was found and it was apparent he had suffered head injuries in the crash, Karla said.

Three-wheelers like the one Machado was driving are never licensed for road use and can only travel on roads to cross at a right angle, Karla said.

There was no indication of alcohol consumption, Karla said. As part of the Placer County Coroner’s investigation, a toxicology test will be performed, with results released in about four months, sheriff’s spokeswoman Dena Erwin said.

There is no posted speed limit on the road before the “S” curve and no warning on its approach.

Pattie and Rich Feicht have a house at the entrance to the curve. Their yard is well-known for its Christmas decorations.

“I wanted to pull them down (after the crash),” Rich Feicht said. “To be honest with you, I don’t have that joy anymore.”

They’ve also erected a fence at the start of the curve since moving to Sylvan Vista Drive six years ago. They say it’s because of concerns about drivers taking the turn too fast and crashing into their house. They live next door to the house the ATV crashed into but said they were sleeping and did not hear the accompanying sounds.  

On Monday, they were expressing their own condolences to a well-known family of a man whose life was cut short too soon.

“We want to tell them we’re so sorry,” Pattie Feicht said. “We honor him and if there’s anything we can do, we just want to help. We’re just so sorry.”

Machado graduated from Placer High School in 2009. His father, Gary Machado, and grandparents, Bobbi and the late Gil Machado, have all been prominent members of the Auburn community.

Initial reports were that Machado was riding a four-wheeled quad ATV. Karla said the vehicle was a three-wheeler. 

(Edited to correct information on how many neighbors heard the crash)