A Grass Valley man was arrested Tuesday night after he allegedly struck a sheriff’s vehicle and a fire truck, and nearly hit emergency personnel at the scene of a traffic accident.
The incident occurred about 8:40 p.m. after vehicle struck a utility pole on Hidden Valley Road, just west of Auburn Road, south of Grass Valley. The crash sheared off the pole and brought power lines down across Auburn Road, disrupting power in the area and sparking a grass fire, according to a California Highway Patrol news release. The Nevada County Consolidated and Grass Valley fire departments responded, along with units from the CHP, Grass Valley Police Department and Nevada County Sheriff’s Office.
While a CHP officer and Grass Valley police sergeant were directing traffic to turn around just north of where firefighters were tending to the fire, a man identified as 33-year-old Justin Greco approached the scene in his vehicle.
According to the CHP, Greco immediately put his vehicle in reverse and accelerated backward, striking the front end of a sheriff’s vehicle that had come up behind him. Greco then sped forward past the CHP officer and veered toward the police sergeant, who had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck. Greco continued south on Auburn Road and attempted to go around the fire truck on the right dirt shoulder. In doing so, his vehicle struck the right side of the fire truck and Greco lost control. His vehicle nearly struck a firefighter before coming to a stop, the CHP reported.
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Greco got out of his vehicle and ran into a field. The firefighter who was nearly struck attempted to restrain Greco, but Greco broke free and escaped into the darkness of the field, according to the CHP.
Additional law enforcement units arrived, and a thermal imaging device was to find Greco, who was hiding in the field. He was arrested by the CHP and booked into the Nevada County Jail on suspicion of numerous offenses, including driving under the influence of drugs, assault against a peace officer, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a switchblade knife, hit and run, and driving on a suspended license.
CHP officials said the initial incident, the crash into the utility pole, remains under investigation. Auburn Road was closed for several hours while Pacific Gas and Electric personnel removed and repaired the downed pole and wires.