Highway 49 pedestrian in critical condition after collision with car

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A man who California Highway Patrol investigators say apparently stepped out into the path of an oncoming car on Highway 49 remained in critical condition Friday in a Roseville hospital. Claude Hiers, 47, of no fixed address in Auburn, suffered major injuries in a collision with a car Wednesday night, about 100 yards north of the Dry Creek Road-Highway 49 crossroads, the Highway Patrol reported. The collision took place at 10:30 p.m. in the southbound slow lane of the five-lane stretch of roadway. The car’s driver – Jerilyn Aldrich, 26, of Grass Valley – was uninjured and the Toyota Camry she was driving sustained minor to moderate damage to the front-end and windshield, according to the California Highway Patrol. Hiers walked off the curb into the path of the Camry as it approached the intersection at an estimated 35 mph, Officer David Martinez said. Aldrich is not considered to be at fault, he said. The injured man was flown by helicopter to Sutter Roseville Medical Center with major injuries, Martinez said. Hospital spokeswoman Robin Montgomery said Hiers was in critical condition Friday morning. Hiers has been a frequent visitor to the Syndicate Tattoo business at Dry Creek Road and Highway 49. Co-owner John Day said Hiers – older than many of the shop’s customers – would lighten the store’s atmosphere with his jokes and was known for calling people his “nephews.” Family members reported that Hiers was in a coma Friday, Day said. James Frye, a Syndicate Tattoo customer, said Hiers had visited the business earlier Wednesday and word of the collision was a shock. Hiers was about 300 feet north of the intersection when struck, the Highway Patrol said. Highway 49 through Auburn has been the scene of several pedestrian-auto collisions involving people walking directly into the path of vehicles, Martinez said.