The flag stands at half staff, at the PG&E work yard off of the midway in Chico. As members of the company mourn the loss of two crew members, 29-year-old Ryan Miles of Chico, and 31-year-old Aaron Weiss of Paradise. PG&E Spokesman Paul Moreno says, "It's a sad day at PG&E."
Miles and Weiss, were driving in a company truck on Highway 70, along with 48-year-old Mike Diefenderfer of Paradise, and 25-year-old Loren Bird of Chico, when the right tires of the F550 drifted off the road, onto the dirt shoulder. That's when driver, Ryan Miles, lost control of the vehicle.
Quincy CHP Officer James Stowe says, "It's indicated by the evidence, he gave a forceful left turning movement into the steering wheel." Which sent the vehicle into a spin.. Causing the truck and the four PG&E travelling linesmen, to plunge into the Rock Creek Reservoir shortly before 4-30 pm.
Diefenderfer and Bird, sitting in the back seat, were able to escape the vehicle. Miles and Weiss were not. And CHP officers are saying it could have been due to the side air bags deploying. "Yes, that could have been.. I am not an expert so I can't say that is what prevented them from escaping, but it could have," says Officer Stowe.
The trapped men drowned after the truck sank 25 feet. Diefenderfer was treated for a shoulder injury and possible mild hypothermia. Officer Stowe says bird was unharmed, but completely shaken up about the crash. "Mr. Bird was very upset. He was frustrated in his inability to help out his fellow workers."
But rescuers say that would have been impossible because of the depth of the water. Moreno says, "Our condolences and sympathies do go out to the employees families and their friends, as well as their collogues and crew members."
Action News spoke with a neighbor of Ryan Miles today who called his death a tragedy.. Saying Miles was nicest guy in the world.