Two dead, one injured in Foresthill Road head-on crash

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Two people died and one was injured in a head-on collision on Foresthill Road Thursday morning. Three air ambulances, two from Calstar and one from Reach, were called to the scene after two cars collided just before noon on Foresthill Road at Driver’s Flat Road between Auburn and Foresthill. The California Highway Patrol identified the driver of a Mazda 626 LX involved in the crash as Billy A. Keller, 25, of Foresthill. The Mazda collided near the double-yellow center line with a Honda Civic driven by Marla McArron, 73, of Davis. Richard Tanner, 78, whose address wasn't immediately available, was a passenger in the McArron car. McArron was reported by hospital and law-enforcement officials to have died. Thursday evening, Tanner was also reported dead. McArron and Tanner were flown to Sutter Roseville Medical Center. Keller was transported to Mercy San Juan Hospital in Carmichael, where he was listed Thursday evening in fair condition. Officer Dave Martinez said all three vehicle occupants were trapped and had to be extricated by emergency workers. All suffered major injuries at the scene, he said. Both vehicles had their engine compartments crushed in by the force of the collision but not pushed far into the seating area. Traffic was held in both directions on Foresthill Road while the victims were removed from the cars and then taken about a quarter of a mile west by ground ambulance for loading onto helicopters. The stretch of Foresthill Road the accident took place on is about 7 miles east of Auburn. The Mazda was traveling west on a downhill curve when the crash occurred, Martinez said. The Civic was eastbound on a section where Foresthill Road widens for a two-lane uphill passing area. Martinez said the CHP was investigating the collision to determine the cause. Waiting with other motorists as debris was cleared, Foresthill resident Kathy Hawes said that she still felt safe driving the 17-mile road between the mountain community and Auburn. But she added that there are times when other drivers can be aggressive. “I generally try to drive at a reasonable speed – 50 to 55 mph,” Hawes said. “But some people don’t. At night, there have been times when they’ve put their lights up right behind you and demand you drive faster.”