Tree falls on Calif. sheriff's office vehicle, injuring retired volunteers inside
The three members of the Sheriff’s Team of Active Retirees were taken to a hospital for treatment, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office said
By Rosalio Ahumada
The Sacramento Bee
EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. — Three senior volunteers on patrol for the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office were injured Wednesday afternoon, one of them seriously, when the roof of their vehicle was crushed by a falling tree, authorities said.
The three members of the Sheriff’s Team of Active Retirees (also known as STAR) were taken to a hospital for treatment, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office announced in a Facebook post. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the incident.
One of the volunteers appeared to have suffered major injuries, and the other two suffered what appeared to be minor injuries, said Officer Andrew Brown, a spokesman for the CHP’s Placerville office. Brown did not have the ages of the injured volunteers.
Sheriff’s officials said the volunteers were conducting security patrols about 2 p.m. Wednesday in the area of Grizzly Flat and Sweeney roads, a rural area several miles south of Highway 50. The volunteers were inside a STAR team patrol vehicle.
Brown said CHP officers have confirmed that the patrol vehicle was on the road and in motion when the tree fell on its roof. He said the tree fell on its own; it was not being cut down. Officers were still investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.
The Sheriff’s Office said it would later provide an update on the conditions of the STAR volunteers.
The El Dorado STAR program, which began in 1994, is for senior volunteers who assist the Sheriff’s Office with crime prevention and other programs. The volunteers are not law enforcement officers, and they do not participate in making arrests or carry weapons, according to the Sheriff’s Office website. Candidates seeking to become STAR volunteers attend a two-week training academy.
On Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Office reminded motorists to drive with caution as weather conditions change with rain in the forecast for Northern California. Sheriff’s officials asked drivers to make sure their vehicle lights and windshield wipers are working properly and be cautious of falling debris and animals in the road, especially in hours of limited visibility.