Combie to Dry Creek Road

CHP looking for driver believed responsible for head-on crash

Witness tried to pull over man behind wheel of white Acura Integra

By Jenifer Gee Journal News Editor

Courtesy Steve Clemente

An Auburn business owner tried to pull over a driver who possibly caused a head-on collision that temporarily shut Highway 49 Friday morning.

Police are now looking for the driver, who fled the scene of an accident that left at least one person in critical condition.

Steve Clemente, who owns Auburn Tattoo Company, said he was driving on Highway 49 near Lone Star Road a little before 10 a.m. when he saw a small white import car pull out into traffic.

He watched from his rear-view mirror as a pickup truck hit the brakes and swerved into oncoming traffic to miss hitting the car.

“It was really something to watch the cars hit in my rear-view mirror,” Clemente said. “It scared the living daylights out of me. I thought those people were dead, but thankfully they weren’t.”

Clemente, who lives in Grass Valley, said he then pulled up alongside the driver of the white car and honked at him to pull over.

“I pulled him over and said, ‘Open the window, open the window,’” Clemente said.

Clemente snapped a picture of the driver and the license plate of the car before he sped away. He said he shared his images with a California Highway Patrol Officer on scene.

Officer Eric Karla with the CHP confirmed that law enforcement is searching for a white male adult in his mid-20s who was driving the white 1994 Acura Integra with no damage that multiple witnesses said caused the accident. He said the license plate number of the vehicle is California 3HXL657.

Karla added that the vehicle is registered in San Jose but the driver of the car does not appear to be the registered owner.

Karla said the man driving the Integra pulled out of Lone Star Road, headed south on Highway 49 toward Auburn at about 9:50 a.m. The officer said the driver “did it with a disregard for southbound traffic and caused one driver to take evasive action.”

The driver of the pickup who took evasive action subsequently hit the driver of a gray Honda Odyssey that was in the left turn pocket on Highway 49, Karla said.

Karla said one driver in critical condition was flown via helicopter to Sutter Roseville Medical Center while the other was taken to the same hospital via ambulance.

Sandy Castle, 60, of Grass Valley, was identified as the driver of the 2001 black Ford F-150 truck involved in the crash. She was flown out.

Edmund Moley, 76, of Auburn, was driving a blue 2005 Honda Odyssey. He also suffered major injuries and was taken to hospital by ambulance.

The crash temporarily closed southbound traffic on Highway 49.

Karla asked anyone with information about the Integra or its driver to call the highway patrol office at (916) 663-3344.

Reach Jenifer Gee at

Hwy 49 wreck: Grass Valley woman in critical condition