Crime - Sacto 911

Auburn man killed on Highway 49 when vehicle is crushed by backhoe

Location of fatal crash on Highway 49 on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016.
Location of fatal crash on Highway 49 on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016.

An Auburn man was killed when a backhoe being pulled by a pickup landed on top of his vehicle Thursday night on Highway 49 northwest of Nevada City.

The highway was closed for five hours while authorities investigated the crash that occurred about 6 p.m. near Nishinam Gulch Road. The California Highway Patrol said that information about possible charges being filed in the crash will be released as it becomes available.

A CHP news release said Terry Cordell, 58, of Newcastle was northbound on Highway 49 in a Ford-350 pickup pulling a large trailer carrying a construction tractor/backhoe. He lost control of the vehicle as he traveled downhill toward the crossing of the Yuba River. The CHP said Cordell was traveling at an unsafe speed.

As the trailer swung into the oncoming lane, the driver of an approaching southbound Toyota 4-Runner steered out of the way.

However, a southbound GMC pickup behind the 4-Runner was struck by the trailer and backhoe as it overturned, killing the pickup’s driver.

The CHP identified the victim as Wesley Guthrie, 32, of Auburn.

Cordell was released at the scene. Officers said that he was not licensed to drive the combination of vehicles the weight and size he was using.

His equipment was impounded for evidence and further examination.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews