A fiery vehicle collision on Highway 99E north of Los Molinos that left two people dead closed down both lanes of traffic for three hours following the 11:17 p.m. crash on Tuesday, Aug. 13.
It appears a Dodge Caliber was traveling erratically and at a high rate of speed northbound on the highway when it veered into the southbound lane for unknown reasons and slammed head-on into a gold Saturn Ion near Sixth Avenue, reported California Highway Patrol Officer Ben Tawney.
The Tehama County Coroner’s Office released the identity of the 2001 Saturn driver as 21-year-old Colton Stout of Los Molinos, however the office is still trying to identify the female driver of the Dodge.
The intensity of the impact caused both vehicles to catch fire and become engulfed in flames, the Saturn still in the southbound lane and the Dodge on its roof in the center of the roadway adjacent to the Saturn.
CHP Officer Jay McPeek said the crash occurred so quickly the involved vehicles had no time to brake as there were no tire skid marks on the roadway. In addition, the high speed of the Dodge propelled both vehicle 54 feet north of the initial site of impact where oil and gouge marks were left in the roadway.
Firefighters from Tehama County Rural Fire Department and CalFire had to extricate both drivers from the burnt vehicles.
CHP said there were no passenger in either vehicle.
CHP is investigating the incident and has not stated whether drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.