High-speed chase ends three-county crime spree

A high-speed chase ended a three-county trek for a pair of fugitives Monday night in Yuba County.

The Yuba County Sheriff’s Department was alerted around 6:35 p.m. Monday by the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department of a car driven by a suspect in a felony assault earlier in the evening, said Yuba County spokeswoman Melanie Oakes.

About 40 minutes later, a Yuba County deputy saw a car matching the description in the Nevada County alert and attempted to pull it over. The driver, Dillon James McMahon, 22, of Roseville, instead led deputies on a 25-minute chase with speeds reported on the police scanner of up to 125 mph.

The pursuit started at Highway 20 and Kibbe Road, then proceeded to Fruitland Road to Marysville Road and finally back to Highway 20 westbound toward Marysville.

Deputies laid out spike strips which McMahon hit with one side of the car near the Recology Yuba-Sutter Transfer Station, said Oakes. As the car’s tires slowly deflated, McMahon drove onto Sweezy Street.

Both McMahon and his passenger, John Kody Adrian, 19, of Colfax, bailed out of the car while it was still running, leaving it on a nearby yard.

McMahon’s escape attempt was thwarted by a K-9 unit, but he still tried to fight his way out until he was hit with a Taser. Adrian was pursued and captured by deputies, Oakes said.

McMahon was taken to Rideout Memorial Hospital with minor injuries from the bite, Oakes said.

This was the end of a search through three counties for the men.

Around 6 p.m. in Penn Valley, an 81-year-old man was hit multiple times in the head with a crowbar, Nevada County Undersheriff Richard Kimble said. Witnesses on Gold County Drive reported two suspects who were earlier knocking on doors of at least two other homes asking for money were behind the assault.

The victim was lifeflighted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

Nevada County passed a description of a dark Honda Civic with front-end damage to Yuba County since they suspected the vehicle was traveling in that direction, Kimble said.

When a Yuba County deputy ran the license plate of the car McMahon was driving, it came back as being involved in a carjacking in Auburn, Oakes said.

McMahon had spent the night before in jail on a disorderly conduct charge by the Placer County Sheriff’s Department, according to a booking sheet at the Placer County Jail. He was released Monday.

In a separate high-speed chase Monday afternoon, Sutter County deputies responded to a report of trespassing in an orchard on the 3000 block of South George Washington Boulevard.

Upon arriving, the deputy saw a large group flee in separate vehicles, according to a department spokesman. The deputy pursued the nearest vehicle — a white Nissan — westbound on Bogue Road and northbound on Township with speeds up to 100 mph.

The deputy stopped the pursuit on Franklin Road due to its proximity to Franklin Elementary School. The suspect decided to pull over shortly after.

Read more: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/articles/county-105780-three-yuba.html#ixzz1sMIX7Out

Speed blamed in fatal wreck

Excessive speed and slick road conditions proved a fatal combination for a 27-year-old Olivehurst man who violently flipped and rolled his truck near his home late Saturday night.

Terry Sutton was traveling at a high rate of speed north on Rancho Road just off of McGowan Parkway at about 11:30 p.m., CHP Sgt. Dave Eisenbarth.

Witnesses said Sutton pulled a U-turn at the end of the road and proceeded south on Rancho Road when the Ford truck began fishtailing after crossing McGowan Parkway, Eisenbarth said.

Sutton’s truck rolled and flipped violently until it came to rest in a ditch a few yards from the railroad tracks with the front end facing north, Eisenbarth said. Sutton was pronounced dead at 11:58 p.m.

Although a storm left the roads slick, it was not raining at the time of the accident.

Relatives said Sutton had left his house to visit friends nearby shortly before the accident. Eisenbarth said Sutton was seen accelerating, spinning his tires and “screwing around.”

Speed and the slippery, uneven road likely played a large role in the accident, Eisenbarth said. He ruled out alcohol being involved.

Word of the accident spread quickly through Sutton’s friends and family. Dozens came to the scene of the accident. Some dropped to their knees upon seeing Sutton’s truck overturned, others offered a shoulder for weeping.

Lydia Sutton, Terry’s aunt, said he lived only a few blocks away from the accident with his wife Shawna and a 3-year-old son, Austin.

At least 20 other people have died in vehicle-related crashes in the Mid-Valley since the beginning of the year, including eight people aboard a chartered bus that rolled over in rural Colusa County last month.

Read more: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/road-70678-sutton-eisenbarth.html#ixzz1sMR6Qk3U

Wild highway crash injures 4

Four members of a Rio Linda family were injured Saturday when their SUV did a barrel roll across a ditch and into oncoming traffic, closing Highway 70 for more than a half-hour, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Thong Duc Nguyen, 27, of Rio Linda was northbound on Highway 70 just south of the McGowan Parkway exit at about 4:50 p.m. when his Toyota Highlander veered to the left at an unknown rate of speed.

Witnesses said the vehicle rolled across the 6-foot-deep ditch dividing the northbound and southbound lanes and came to rest in the southbound lane. No other cars were involved in the accident, said CHP Officer J.D. Moser.

The preliminary investigation found that Nguyen likely fell asleep on the drive to Olivehurst to pick up his wife’s car from a mechanic, said Moser.

“Luckily, everyone was restrained, including the children in child restraint seats,” he said.

The children were both in the back seat, and Nguyen’s wife was in the passenger’s seat next to him.

After the wreck, Moser said he was able to talk to Nguyen and find out some of the details about his wild ride across into oncoming traffic.

All four were taken to Rideout Emergency Center, where they were treated for mild to moderate injuries.

The occupants had to be extricated from the vehicle because of the major damage, Moser said.

Highway 70 was reopened around 5:25 p.m.

“Our primary concern was patient care, and then we shifted to making sure there weren’t second, third or fourth collisions and finally moved to open the road as quickly as possible,” Moser said.

Any one who may have witnessed the accident is encouraged to call Moser at (530) 674-5141, ext. 338.

“We have a good idea of what happened, but witnesses are encouraged to come forward with any additional information,” Moser said.

Read more: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/moser-55849-highway-nguyen.html#ixzz1sMORELuw

Get past the phone menu runaround

If you want sales, press 1. If you want customer service, press 2. If you want to speak to a live human being, good luck.

Gabe Davidson was tired of wading through a sea of phone menu options when he was dealing with banks, so he spent hours searching the Internet for shortcuts and testing them. Now he’s putting that work on the Internet for people to find for free.

“I was calling this bank, which I won’t name, but I was on hold forever,” he said. “I thought it would be great to have a list of extensions and numbers so I wasn’t sitting here waiting.”

The 33-year-old Yuba City real estate agent has compiled more than 400 phone numbers of companies and government organizations on his site, www.1800shortcuts.net. While the majority of the numbers are 1-800 numbers, some aren’t toll-free.

The site can help save time as well as money.

Most companies have some kind of back door in their automated phone systems to immediately get in contact with a live person. Most of these have been scattered on the Internet or hidden in obscurity, waiting for someone to pry through the system to find them. A lot of the shortcuts that Davidson found came by process of elimination.

“You get a feel for it after awhile,” he said.

Most phone systems use the star key to repeat the machine’s messages, the pound key leads to customer service, and hitting zero multiple times can lead to a live operator, Davidson said. From there, he scoured the Internet and began testing ideas for hundreds of phone numbers.

“There was a lot of research and a lot of dialing,” he said.

The Web site itself is much simpler than the process of culling the information. Instead of overloading it with ads and graphics and layers, Davidson has every phone number on one page. It’s just text, a simple Google ad and a small logo at the top.

“It was fun for me to deal with the steps of getting it all together and putting together the site,” he said. “The hardest part was just coming up with the initial idea.”

Davidson has some technology experience, though he didn’t study it specifically. He’s worked for Century 21 for the past four years and before that he was involved in computer sales.

The site is far from complete and Davidson is trying to add more companies and phone numbers to his list.

If people have tips for how to get around more phone systems or want to report a mistake, he said the best option is to e-mail him at thissiteisforsale@yahoo.com

“It’s a simple concept and I want it to be a useful tool for people to use,” Davidson said. “And before anyone asks: no, the site is not for sale.”

Read more: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/phone-55041-davidson-numbers.html#ixzz1sMNWO6jj`

Women raising funds for children in Y-S

Women in Philanthropy will hold its annual luncheon Thursday to raise funds for children’s causes in Yuba-Sutter.

The group will combine the proceeds from this luncheon with the dues it collects from its members to help Hands of Hope and Iles Golf Academy for Children, spokeswomen Clarine Musfelt said.

“This is about women coming together and helping children,” she said.

The luncheon is also a chance for people to get to know more about the group and to join. The yearly dues cost $350, but it all goes to the charities. The luncheon is an extra boost for the group.

“There’s really no overhead, so the luncheon proceeds are going straight to them,” Musfelt said.

Hands of Hope will get $300 of the members’ dues with the other $50 going to Iles Golf Academy.

Hands of Hope is a charity which helps children in the Yuba-Sutter area and their families who are homeless. In Yuba-Sutter K-12 schools, 578 children are considered homeless, Musfelt said. The charity helps provide a way for them to wash themselves and get clean clothes.

Iles Golf Academy lets children of any background learn about golf from a club pro for a week. The $50 covers the expenses for one child to learn for a week.

The luncheon will be in the flower building at the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds at 11:30 a.m. The cost is $35 per person or $300 for a sponsor table for six.

Read more: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/children-54808-luncheon-golf.html#ixzz1sMKzhfpt

Woodleaf seeks funds for move

The Woodleaf Outdoor School has kicked off its fundraising drive to get the school moved to a new location before its lease expires in 20 months.

Woodleaf, an outdoor education program for youngsters, is in the middle of its search for a new home after the Younglife organization decided to expand its Christian youth camp program and declined to renew the outdoor school’s lease. Now the school is in negotiations for several locations and is looking for donors to make the move possible.

“We’re starting to get our ducks lined up in a row,” said George Stratman, Woodleaf’s outdoor education director.

The school, which has been at its Yuba foothills location for 38 years, got the news in April that the Colorado-based Christian organization wouldn’t renew its lease. It must move by May 2009.

Stratman has worked at Woodleaf for four years and another 18 years in general outdoor-education positions elsewhere.

His daughter, who is in the fifth grade, will be one of the last students to attend the outdoor school at its current location next year.

However, since she’s the director’s daughter, this won’t be her first trip to Woodleaf.

“She’s definitely a huge Woodleaf fan,” Stratman said.

May 2009 won’t be the end of Woodleaf, program officials have stressed. Stratman is quick to point out that just because the school is moving, doesn’t mean it’s dead or even wounded.

“Our program is alive and well,” he said. “We have a long, rich history behind us and we hope to have a long, rich future ahead of us.”

Donations can be sent to the Woodleaf Foundation, c/o Woodleaf Outdoor School, 970 Klamath Lane, Yuba City, CA 95993. For large donations, contact Gennis Zeller at (530) 822-2950.

Read more: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/woodleaf-54751-school-outdoor.html#ixzz1sMMHPbXZ

This Linda Lion is full of pride

Commitment isn’t a problem for Howard Lansdon. He worked for Pacific Gas & Electric for 34 years, he’s been married for 71 years, and he has served with the Linda Lions Club for 53 years.

Lansdon, 89, is the last surviving charter member of the Linda Lions Club, which was founded in 1954. He was surprised at a recent Lions meeting with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I was really surprised. Not expecting that at all,” he said.

Lansdon was in the Navy in the 1940s and started working for PG&E at the end of the decade. A few years later, his work pushed him into what was the beginning of the Linda Lions Club.

“PG&E wanted people in the service clubs back then,” Lansdon said.

He didn’t join against his will. Lansdon had always enjoyed helping others, so the idea of joining a group dedicated to that cause was second nature for him.

“I’ve always enjoyed doing things for people,” he said. “When you go, it’s like you’re among friends.”

When Lansdon retired from PG&E in 1982, his commitment to the Lions and helping others didn’t stop. He went around the state with a group of fellow members and visited every Lions chapter to see how they worked. Part of his secret in pulling off this feat was to take advantage of the fact that different clubs meet at different times of the day.

“We’d schedule it right and make it in threes,” he said. “Get one in the morning, one for lunch and another in the evening.”

Now he helps by putting his metalworking skills to good use, whether it’s punching holes in saw blades for a local hardware shop or making trophies out of old gas meters for PG&E.

“I’ve never wanted money out of it; I just wanted to help out,” Lansdon said.

In August, Lansdon and his wife, Dorothy, celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary. He credits the love they’ve shared and the fact they’ve put aside little jealousies that break couples apart, such as money and straying from their spouse.

“It’s no secret really. We just love each other and haven’t let the little things get in the way,” Lansdon said.

The state Senate sent the Lansdons a proclamation celebrating their 70th anniversary last year.

The couple has three children and eight grandchildren. Lansdon said he had great- grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, but wasn’t sure how many.

“I can’t count that far,” he said, laughing.

Lansdon hasn’t been able to make it to as many Lions meetings as he used to. Not only is he starting to feel his age, but he also is taking care of his wife who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

As much as he loves the Lions, Lansdon has to help his dear wife first.

Read more: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/commitment-54752-problem-gas.html#ixzz1sMLZhUqR

Y-S educators say safety plans in place

Yuba-Sutter school officials said they are ready for an incident similar to the one that happened at Las Plumas High School on Friday.

A 17-year-old student allegedly brought a gun to the Oroville campus and held students hostage in a band room until finally surrendering to police.

A safety plan is in place and is rehearsed at schools in the Yuba City Unified School District, said Dave Morrow, director of student welfare for the district. At least twice a year, schools rehearse the lockdown procedures.

An announcement is made over the intercom and students are required to sit at their desks while teachers lock the doors and draw the blinds, Morrow said.

“It’s become a regular part of the school year for us, unfortunately,” the district official said.

Superintendent Gay Todd said the Marysville Joint Unified School District has a similar plan in which each school has its own emergency plan that has been reviewed and approved by the school board.

The MJUSD’s plans have steadily been updated because of the shootings at Lindhurst High School in 1992, Todd said. In that incident, student Eric Houston took 80 students hostage at the school after a shooting rampage that left four people dead.

The Yuba County Witness Assistance Program will be staying open this weekend to help people deal with anxiety that could crop up in some of the students who were at Lindhurst at the time of the shootings and now have kids in school.

�Every time there is a shooting, we say the specter of Eric Houston is back,� said program coordinator Sandy Fonley. �Our students have felt particularly vulnerable.�

Residents are encouraged to call the program at 741-6275.

Read more: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/school-54698-students-district.html#ixzz1sMMtQGjF

Good times at Lindhurst High

Lindhurst High School students celebrated their success in the classroom, kicking off a new program with a Renaissance fair in the campus quad Thursday.

The Olivehurst school had its first of many planned events as part of its Renaissance program. The school has seen an almost 100-point gain in its Annual Performance Index scores over the past three years.

Guidance counselor Joanna Alvarado is also acting as the counselor for Renaissance. The program grew out of a class and became an incentive for students to bring up their grades and keep them high.

Before this first year of Lindhurst’s “renaissance,” Alvarado researched some of the more successful programs in the area, including Bear River Middle School in Wheatland. The first step was taken Thursday with a lunch-hour fair.

“This lets them know about the new club and gets them interested in learning more,” Alvarado said.

Throughout the year, the club will help celebrate success in the classroom through a series of events, including scholarship assemblies and naming a student of the month. Students won’t be the only ones celebrated, as teachers and staff members will also be honored each month.

For their efforts in the classroom, students were treated to a fair filled with plenty of opportunities for students to celebrate success.

The Marines brought in a chin-up bar and the Army had a climbing wall for students to pull themselves to new heights. Free cake was served to encourage hard work to keep the school’s API score closer to 700.

Principal Bob Eckhardt is excited to see the push for students to keep improving in their studies because it adds to what he sees as a hidden pattern of excellence at Lindhurst that extends beyond the classroom.

The school’s sports teams also took home seven league titles, including a section champion football team and champion soccer, track and softball teams.

“We are riding a wave of success, and we don’t see an end in sight,” Eckhardt said.

Read more: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/students-54657-school-classroom.html#ixzz1sMRTSEdA

Wreck snarls bridge traffic

A four-car collision injured one man and stopped eastbound traffic on the 10th Street bridge during rush hour on Monday.

The collision happened around 5:15 p.m. and closed traffic while the cars involved were moved down to I Street to get statements. An unidentified male passenger was taken from the scene in an ambulance.

A blue Jeep was at the front of the chain-reaction wreck and suffered minimal damage. A green Ford pickup followed with a silver Toyota Tacoma. Both had badly bent front and back ends. A green Pontiac Grand Prix was the last one hit and suffered severe front-end damage.

Dennis Socha, 42 of Marysville was in his Jeep when, he said, traffic was stopped in front of him and he hit his brakes. Just as the truck behind hit him, Socha said he let off his brakes, and there was barely a mark on his car, though he complained of neck and back pain from the impact.

“I don’t remember what happened, it all happened so fast,” Socha said. “Everyone just stopped all of a sudden on the bridge.”

Albert Salas, 66, of Marysville was riding with his two chihuahuas when his Ford pickup hit the back of Socha’s Jeep and was then hit by the Toyota behind him. All three inside the Ford were able to walk away from the crash.

Brent Fetty, 38, of Santa Cruz was on his way to see his father in the hostpital when his Tacoma hit the back of Salas’ truck. Shortly after, the next car hit.

“It was so quick, I had no chance of stopping,” Fetty said. “I just watched that girl behind me in my mirror come up and hit me.”

Mayra Heredia, 18, of Wheatland, drove the last car in the collision. Her Pontiac hit the back of Fetty’s Tacoma and set off her air bags.

The passenger side air bag panel smashed half of the windshield outward. A passenger in her car, whose name was not available, was taken away by ambulance with minor injuries.

The accident is still under investigation, but Jenn Inc. accident investigator Eric Quintana said it looked like speed was a factor.

“Most of the time on a bridge, it’s speed and following too close,” Quintana said.

Read more: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/traffic-54490-front-suffered.html#ixzz1sMSPWBS1