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ID of drugged-out woman who caused I-80 closure unknown

By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Police still don’t know the identity of an allegedly suicidal woman who closed westbound Interstate 80 for two hours by climbing onto the Ophir Road off ramp sign Saturday evening. They don’t plan to arrest her either, an Auburn detective said Monday. When the 21-year-old was transferred to Sutter Roseville Hospital for a mental health evaluation Saturday night, hospital staff found her to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to Sgt. Dave Lawicka of the Auburn Police Department. The woman also mentioned she had recently eaten mushrooms from a field, according to Lawicka. At 7:20 p.m. Saturday, the California Highway Patrol called Auburn police for backup on a report of someone walking on the freeway. When officers arrived to the scene on westbound I-80 at Nevada Street, they found an unknown female sitting on the elevated Ophir Road off-ramp sign, Lawicka said. “Auburn police officers attempted to make verbal contact with the unknown female,” Lawicka said. “However, the female would not respond to the officers’ attempts. The Auburn Police Department then requested assistance from the Placer County Sheriff’s Department, specifically the availability of a crisis negotiator.” Lawicka said during the negotiations westbound I-80 had to be closed for the safety of the woman as well as the law enforcement officials. Detective Scott Alford said Monday police don’t know if the woman is a local resident, but she didn’t fit the description of any Auburn-area residents who have been reported missing. “We couldn’t find any identification on her or her property,” Alford said. Officers also tried calling her by the names of missing adults from Sacramento and El Dorado counties, but she didn’t answer to any of them, Alford said. Alford said the woman was talking about suicide, but mostly what she said didn’t make any sense. “She did make suicidal statements,” he said. “Nothing she said was really that clear and rational.” After two hours the negotiator convinced the woman to come down with the assistance of the Auburn Fire Department, at which time she was transported to the hospital, Lawicka said. Police are unaware of the woman’s current whereabouts, Alford said. Alford said he wasn’t sure how the woman managed to climb up to the sign in one piece. “I don’t know in her condition how she could have gotten up there without falling,” Alford said. Alford said the woman, who is still nameless to local authorities, would not be charged with any criminal activity. “There won’t be any criminal prosecution for that,” he said. “She wasn’t in her right mind. She was just someone who needed help. We couldn’t even carry on a conversation with her. We just wanted her down before she hurt herself.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com