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November 17, 2013
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Crash involving U.S. Forest Service firefighters claims life of Camptonville “Hotshots” crew member

An early Saturday morning crash on Marysville Road in Yuba County claimed the life of a United States Forest Service firefighter after he was reportedly struck by a car driven by a fellow member of his fire-fighting unit, the California Highway Patrol reported.

Michael “Mike” P. Kelly, 32, of Camptonville sustained major blunt-force trauma to the head and torso and was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, just west of Old Toll Road on Marysville Road, the CHP reported.

According to the report, at approximately 1:10 a.m. Saturday, 26-year-old Andrew Gruenberg of San Diego was driving a 2002 Hyundai Accent sedan westbound on Marysville Road, transporting six other passengers in the vehicle with him. An unrelated vehicle was traveling eastbound toward Gruenberg when that driver reportedly observed a pedestrian lying down in the westbound (opposite) lane of the roadway.

The driver came to a stop and, observing Gruenberg’s oncoming vehicle, began flashing his high-beam headlights to signal Gruenberg of the hazard in the roadway ahead. Gruenberg failed to stop and ran over Kelly, the pedestrian, the CHP reported.

Gruenberg reportedly believed he had run over an animal in the roadway and he continued on toward his destination. A passenger in his vehicle called 911 to report the collision and the hazard in the roadway. After they arrived at their destination approximately two miles away, two of the passengers got into another vehicle and returned to the scene to investigate.

Emergency personnel were also at the scene and determined Gruenberg had run over Kelly.

According to the CHP report, Gruenberg, the passengers in his vehicle, and Kelly, the pedestrian, were all employed as firefighters assigned to the “Hotshots” crew for the United States Forest Service, stationed in Yuba County.

The CHP stated it is handling the ongoing investigation and that all involved parties are cooperating. Alcohol appears to be a factor in the collision, the report stated. At the present time, no arrests have been made, pending toxicology results and further examinations.

The westbound lane of Marysville Roadd was blocked by emergency personnel for approximately five hours while the investigation continued.


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The Union Updated Nov 18, 2013 06:34AM Published Nov 18, 2013 09:14AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.