Crime - Sacto 911

Caltrans employee among two dead in Highway 70 head-on crash

Two vehicles collided head-on early Tuesday morning on Highway 70, killing both drivers, including a longtime state Department of Transportation worker.

The accident took place about 5:45 a.m. near Oroville on Highway 70 south of Ophir Road, a two-lane stretch of the roadway.

In the collision, a woman driving at a high speed – possibly without headlights on – attempted to pass another vehicle, slamming into a male driver going the opposite way, according to Officer Justin Wallace of the California Highway Patrol. The man was not speeding at the time, he said.

The woman, who was driving a 2001 Ford Taurus, has not been identified. The man, driving a 2006 Chevy HHR, was Paradise resident Paul Inman, a 16-year Caltrans employee who was on his way to work in Marysville.

Inman, 43, is survived by his wife and three children.

The Silver Dollar Speedway and Marysville Raceway will recognize Inman, a passionate fan of sprint car racing, at an upcoming race. In a Facebook post by Speedway announcer Troy Hennig, many racers close to Inman spoke about their loss.

“Paul Inman was one of the kindest people I know and willing to give the shirt off his back for anyone,” said driver Wyatt Brown. “Rest easy buddy.”

According to the Oroville Mercury-Register, there have been 11 deaths on that part of Highway 70 south of Ophir Road this year.

Wallace said the road is not inherently dangerous. He encouraged drivers to express caution before attempting a pass.

“Unsafe speeds and unsafe passing are a dangerous combination of violations,” he said. “If you see any cars coming in your direction, unless you can see several miles, it’s not worth trying to pass.”

Jacob Sweet: 916-321-1052, @_jacobsweet