Crime - Sacto 911

Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to man who crashed semi truck into state Capitol in 2001?

Q: What happened to the guy who ran into the state Capitol in Sacramento with his semi truck in the early years of the 2000s, and what was the result of that investigation?

Sarah, Sacramento

A: Mike Bowers, a 37-year-old Riverside County resident with a history of criminal offenses and mental health problems, died after his big-rig smashed into the south steps of the state Capitol in January 2001.

California Highway Patrol officials reported that Bowers survived the impact of the crash but died when the truck’s fuel tanks exploded.

The crash occurred at 9:26 p.m., causing a massive fire that forced the evacuation of lawmakers and staffers attending a session on California’s energy crisis.

According to stories in The Sacramento Bee, witnesses said the truck had circled the Capitol several times before speeding north on 11th Street. The driver was blaring the truck’s horn when the 18-wheeler, loaded with canned milk, crashed into the steps of the Capitol’s south entrance, then smashed through the ornate wooden doors and burst into flames.

Days before the crash, state officials rejected a $500 million claim that Bowers had filed, alleging that he had been mistreated while in custody in state mental hospitals and prisons. In the claim, Bowers wrote of being persecuted for pursuing a “New World Order,” but did not explain the meaning of the term.

The Bee reported that repairs to the Capitol cost $13.5 million.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy