Man arrested after crashing into Cottage Hill School playground |

Man arrested after crashing into Cottage Hill School playground

A man who reportedly was under the influence of multiple controlled substances — and transporting packaged marijuana — crashed through a fence and into an elementary school playground Thursday afternoon.

None of the children were injured and the driver was arrested and booked into county jail after being treated at the hospital.

Joshua Jay Hightower, 39, was driving an Oldsmobile Cutlass sedan eastbound on Magnolia Road at approximately 2:20 p.m. when he made an unsafe turning movement, said California Highway Patrol spokesman Greg Tassone.

Hightower then veered across the oncoming lane and off the edge of the road, going over an embankment onto an asphalt running path. The vehicle then continued northward down the embankment, where it crashed through the perimeter fence of Cottage Hill School, landing close to approximately six students who were playing nearby.

“While the children were pelted with small bits of flying dirt and debris from the collision, they were thankfully uninjured,” Tassone said.

They were released to their parents as they responded to the school for pickup.

Hightower sustained minor injuries in the collision. In the subsequent investigation by CHP officers, he was evaluated and found to be under the influence of several controlled substances. He was also found to be driving on a suspended license due to multiple previous violations of driving under the influence, and in violation of his parole,.

He was also found to be transporting approximately one pound of marijuana that was packaged for sale, as well as a “very realistic” replica revolver that looked like an older-model display model, Tassone said.

Hightower was later transported by CHP personnel to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital where he was evaluated and treated before being booked into the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility on charges of possessing and transporting marijuana for sale, driving under the influence of a drug, driving on a suspended license, violating probation and violating parole. He was being held without bail.

Hightower had been arrested in August and charged with possessing a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, possessing a cane sword, driving on a license that had been suspended for a prior DUI, and false registration; he was arrested a few weeks later for driving on a suspended license and was set to return to court on Oct. 22 for both matters.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4229.

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