Two people died Wednesday when a driver became distracted on a mountain road and his pickup tumbled down a canyon wall in Butte County.
California Highway Patrol units arrived at the scene of the 3:30 p.m. accident in the Concow area, east of Paradise, about 5:30 p.m. The injured survivors of the crash had to climb back up to the road and hail a passerby who then summoned the CHP and medical aid to the remote location.
Charles Taylor, of Chico, 19, the driver of the pickup, told the CHP that he and three friends were traveling westbound on a narrow, dirt portion of Concow Road when he became distracted while talking to his passengers and briefly took his eyes off the road.
When he looked back to the roadway, the truck's left front tire had drifted off the left side of the road, which runs along a deep canyon. The truck rolled down the canyon and came to rest 800-1000 feet below the road.
Nobody in the truck was wearing a seatbelt, according to a CHP press release. All four in the truck were ejected.
A 24-year-old Modesto man and 39-year-old Oroville woman died at the scene. Taylor and a passenger, Samuel Montgomery, 19, of Chico, were flown to a Chico hospital where they were treated for their injuries.
The CHP said the cause of the crash was distracted driving. Although alcohol was in the truck, it does not appear to be a factor in the crash.