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CHP report on Foresthill Road double-fatal crash nearly done

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A California Highway Patrol investigation is nearing completion into a crash on Foresthill Road two months ago that left two people dead and the driver of the other car seriously injured. The late-morning collision March 17 near Driver’s Flat killed Marla McArron, 74, of Davis, and Richard Tanner, 78, of Foresthill. The driver and lone occupant of the other car – 25-year-old Billy Keller of Foresthill – survived the head-on, two-car crash. The investigator’s report is expected to be completed within the next week, with recommendations to the Placer County District Attorney, Auburn CHP spokesman Officer David Martinez said Wednesday. The deaths of the McArron and Tanner put a sharper focus on distracted driving concerns, with posters from their families stating on the Journal website that Keller’s cell phone was confiscated by authorities at the crash scene and it contained information indicating he had been texting while driving before the accident. They have since declined to talk with the Journal, citing a request from the CHP. The CHP has released minimal information about the investigation, other than to say it revolves around Keller’s actions and possible driver inattentiveness. Three weeks ago, a District Attorney’s Office spokesman said the office had received a report from the CHP on the accident but Martinez said Wednesday the report has yet to be filed. The District Attorney’s Office is proceeding with a case of vehicular manslaughter against 56-year-old Patricia Louise Hernandez of Chicago Park in the Jan. 31, 2010, death of Nevada County cyclist Jim Rogers on Highway 174 near Colfax. Rogers’ widow, Carolyn Rogers, has launched her own public awareness campaign this year to deter people from texting or using their handheld cell phones while driving. The Hernandez trial had initially been scheduled for early May in Placer County Superior Court. Hernandez’s next appearance in court will now be July 15 for a trial-setting conference. – Gus Thomson