Crime - Sacto 911

Man accused of DUI after car crashes onto Nevada County school grounds

An Auburn man whose vehicle crashed onto the grounds of a Nevada County school on Thursday has been accused of driving under the influence and other offenses related to possession of marijuana and firearms.

Joshua Hightower-Malta, 39, was driving alone in an Oldsmobile Cutlass sedan, eastbound on Magnolia Road near Lake of the Pines about 2:20 p.m. He made an unsafe turning movement, causing the vehicle to cross the oncoming traffic lane and run off the north edge of the road, according to a California Highway Patrol news release. The vehicle went over an embankment, struck an asphalt running path and continued northward down the embankment and through the perimeter fence of the Cottage Hill School. The vehicle landed on the school grounds, where approximately six children were playing nearby, according to the CHP.

Officers responded to the scene along with personnel from the Higgins Fire Department and Sierra Nevada Ambulance Service. Although the children were pelted with small bits of flying dirt and debris from the crash, they were not injured, the CHP reported. Hightower-Malta sustained minor injures.

During the subsequent investigation, Hightower-Malta was evaluated and found to be under the influence of several controlled substances, according to the CHP. He also was found to be driving with a suspended license due to multiple previous violations of driving under the influence and in violation of his parole, officials said.

He accused of transporting approximately 1 pound of marijuana packaged for sale and being in possession of a replica firearm.

Hightower-Malta was taken by CHP personnel to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital in Grass Valley, where he was evaluated and treated before being booked into the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility in Nevada City with an additional parole-hold, officials said.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy