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CHP: Truck carrying children crashes into canal, kills 3 people

UPDATE: 5:04 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - California Highway Patrol officers say a man and two children were killed after a truck crashed into the Thermalito Canal Sunday night.

Posted: Apr 13, 2020 7:46 AM
Updated: Apr 14, 2020 5:31 PM

THERMALITO, Calif. - California Highway Patrol officers say an Oroville man and two children were killed after a truck crashed into the Thermalito Canal Sunday night.

Officers say Colby Allen Brookman was driving a 2004 GMC Sierra at a high rate of speed, west on Grand Avenue, west of Gold Country Lane around 7 p.m.

Officers say Brookman was not able to stop where the road ended, leading to a collision with a fence before crashing and going airborne.

The pickup truck continued along its path of travel where it entered the Thermalito Dam canal. 

"There’s a large reflective sign and it says road ends, 500 feet," said CHP Officer Ben Draper. "It’s on the right side of the road so it’s facing drives as they're approaching in that direction. There's also signs at the end of the road that say 'end of the road and caution."

Brookman and one female passenger were able to extricate themselves from the GMC, but three passengers, one 32-year-old man, and two children, were stuck in the rear seats. Moments later emergency personnel arrived on the scene to help rescue them.

The man died as a result of the crash. The two children were taken to the hospital but died due to their injuries Monday morning, according to CHP Oroville.

The two children were females, one was at the age of one and the other was seven months old.

CHP says Brookman is being treated at Oroville Hospital for injuries he received in the crash. He remains in CHP custody. 

Butte County District Attorney, Mike Ramsey has until Wednesday to file charges which could include vehicular manslaughter. 

Since last checked, this is only one of many car crashes that happened in the same area. Residents near the property believe the area is unsafe for any driver. 

"Recently we’ve been getting some phone calls, especially since this crash happened," said Officer Draper. "They’ve just been telling us that the asphalt to gravel is just unsafe." 

Just last week one driver suffered minor injuries when it drove down the embankment. But, another driver was not so lucky. 

"You just see one straight road and when people see a road that’s empty, they like to speed," said Daisy Ramirez. "Then there’s the canal, and it’s hard to stop, and it’s hard to stop because of all of that gravel." 

Four years ago, 20-year-old Alejandro Ramirez's body was found in the Thermalito Canal. CHP says he was speeding on Grand Avenue. 

Daisy still visits her brother's crash site and isn't surprised by the other crashes. 

"They should put a bigger sign, or close this road off," said Daisy. "I know there has been so many accidents in this canal." 

CHP says there's not much it can do, but file or speak to Cal-Trans.

"There's fault with people who make the road and there's fault with people who drive on top of it, and again paying attention and if you drive a safe speed, you can avoid instances like this," said Officer Draper. "Be sober, that's another one." 

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 883746

Reported Deaths: 17055
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