Sacto 9-1-1
November 8, 2013
Two suspected bear poachers face felony and misdemeanor charges

Two suspected bear poachers will soon get a day in court.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has asked the Nevada County District Attorney's Office to press felony and misdemeanor charges against Jason Scott Wilkison, 43, of Grass Valley and Chris Art Nunley, 54, of North San Juan for alleged bear poaching in April 2013.

The investigation began when authorities received tips that a bear had been "unlawfully shot after being lured with bait to a residence located near Grizzly Flats in Nevada County," according to a department news release.

The bear's remains were later found in a shallow grave near Wilkison's residence, according to the release. Other remains were found at Nunley's residence.

In addition to the poaching charges, Wilkison and Nunley will face felony charges relating to the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

October 31, 2013
Body found in Nevada County identified as that of missing miner

stever.jpgThe Nevada County Sheriff's Department has confirmed that the body found by searchers Wednesday in the Yuba River Canyon was that of missing miner Walter Steever.

Undersheriff Joe Salivar said an autopsy to determine the cause of death could be completed by Friday morning. There were no signs of foul play, he said, and it appears that Steever, 65, died of natural causes.

Steever left his home in San Jose to work his Nevada County mining claim on Oct. 23. He failed to return home and his wife contact authorities Monday.

October 1, 2013
Red truck linked to suspicious activities in Nevada County

The Nevada County Sheriff's Department is alerting residents to suspicious circumstances involving a man in a red truck after receiving more than 20 such reports since mid-September.

On Sept. 14, a woman reported that a man had approached her daughter, a student at Magnolia Intermediate School near Lake of the Pines, as she was walking home from her school bus stop on the afternoon of Sept. 13 and told the girl to get in his vehicle. The man was reported to be driving an older model red Chevrolet long-bed pickup truck with a white stripe and faded paint. The suspect was described as a white man, possibly in his 30s or 40s, with a goatee.

Since that original report, the Nevada County Dispatch Center has taken 21 calls reporting suspicious circumstances involving a red truck, with sightings reported between the southern county line and Grass Valley. Sheriff's officials said many of the calls have not included enough information for law enforcement officers to be able to investigate.

September 10, 2013
Grass Valley captain named Lincoln police chief

RMarks (1).JPGRex Marks (pictured), a captain with the Grass Valley Police Department, has been named Lincoln's new police chief.

Marks, 47, has 26 years of public safety experience. He will replace interim chief Dan Ruden.

"Marks has a strong background in public safety, and his work history demonstrates excellent skills in communications, effective leadership and developing strong partnerships within the community," City Manager Jim Estep said in a written statement. "After an intensive recruiting process it became apparent that he was the right candidate for this position, and I am sure he is going to be a great asset to the city."

September 4, 2013
Federal jury convicts man in Nevada County crime spree

A resident of Rough and Ready has been found guilty of a 2011 crime spree in Nevada County that involved mail and identity theft.

A federal jury in Sacramento on Tuesday convicted Jasen Lynn Dushane, 38, of one count of possession of stolen United States mail, one count of possession of unauthorized access devices with intent to defraud, and aggravated identity theft, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. The guilty verdicts were returned after a five-day trial before U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley.

According to information presented at trial, about 2:25 a.m. June 5, 2011, a Nevada County sheriff's deputy observed a silver Lexus sedan southwest of Nevada City. He checked the license plate number of the vehicle and confirmed that it had been reported stolen.

August 7, 2013
Body of Missing Grass Valley Woman found on back country road

GV woman.jpgBy Peter Hecht

phecht@sacbee.com

After searching for weeks along country roads and ravines of Nevada County, friends today were grieving for a 74-year-old woman who went missing July 7.

The body of Wilma Leona Barnhart of Grass Valley, a long-time resident well-known as an enthusiastic presence at the local bowling alley, was found near her car Monday on a heavily wooded isolated road a few miles of Highway 20 northeast of Nevada City.

Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal said Barnhart appeared to have died of natural causes after her sports utility vehicle got stuck on a downed log along a seldom traveled back country road, Burlington Ridge Road. He said Barnhart had written notes in a journal, "basically keeping track of the days as they went by and her condition" before she died.

Juanita Flowers, a Grass Valley resident who had known Barnhart for more than 50 years, said she believes her friend may have been searching for a campground where she used to stay with her husband, Gilbert "Bud" Barnhart, who died in 2010.

Barnhart, who lived at a mobile home park in Grass Valley, was an avid bowler well known at the local Prosperity Lanes.

"Oh my god, she was fun," said Sherry Frayne, one of her bowling companions. "She just did a big 'whoopee!' if she got a strike or someone else did. She was a very happy person, very friendly. Very lovely."

Flowers said she became worried when Barnhart didn't show up for a lunch they had scheduled together for Monday July 8. The California Highway Patrol on July 13 issued a "Silver Alert" seeking any leads on her whereabouts.

Flowers said she conducted personal searches for her friend nearly every day. "I drove down Highway 20, down Highway 49, to the Grass Valley Airport. I checked every parking lot in town at least a half a dozen times - just hoping to find her vehicle."

PHOTO CAPTION: Wilma Leona Barnhart of Grass Valley. CBS Sacramento

July 22, 2013
Cross-country campaign aims to prevent I-80 fatalities

The California Highway Patrol is joining 10 other state highway patrol agencies nationwide in the I-80 Challenge, an eight-day campaign that aims to prevent fatalities on the 2,900 miles of Interstate 80 from California to New York.

Beginning Wednesday and continuing through July 31, highway patrol officers will step up traffic safety, enforcement and education efforts along I-80, according to a CHP news release.

The campaign was organized by the Iowa State Patrol after research identified an increase in traffic fatalities along Interstate 80 during the summer vacation period. Statistically, someone dies in a collision ever eight days on I-80 in California, officials said. Of those fatalities, 22 percent are speed related, 4 percent are attributed to distracted driving, 27 percent are alcohol related and 30 percent involve failure to wear a seat belt.

July 15, 2013
UPDATE: Alert issued for missing Grass Valley woman

Barnhart, Wilma.jpegBarnhart vechile.jpegThe Grass Valley Police Department is asking the public's help in locating a 74-year-old woman who has been missing more than a week.

Police were alerted Wednesday by friends of Wilma Leona Barnhart (pictured), who had not been seen or heard from since July 7. A check of Barnhart's residence yielded no indication of foul play, and friends and family said she had no medical or mental health conditions that might explain her disappearance, according to a Police Department news release. They also were not aware that she had any travel plans.

Officers determined through bank records that Barnhart last made a withdrawal from her personal bank account at an ATM at the Bank of America on South Church Street in Grass Valley about 1:20 p.m. July 7. She had purchased gas from Flyers on Plaza Drive at 12:12 p.m. the same day and had completed a purchase at Rite Aid on Sutton Way at 10:52 a.m. No further activity on Barnhart's bank account has been found.

July 5, 2013
Truckee bicyclist arrested for DUI after striking pedestrian

By Barbara Barte Osborn
Bee Correspondent

TRUCKEE -- A 24-year-old Truckee woman was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol after her bicycle struck and seriously injured a pedestrian.

The bicyclist, Petra Bakker-Borhani, was uninjured and remained at the scene after the accident occurred, according to the release. She was booked into the Nevada County jail after authorities said she was operating the bicycle while under the influence of alcohol, the release said.

The accident occurred at 9:25 p.m. Thursday on Donner Pass Road along Donner Lake in Truckee, just as the community's annual fireworks show was about to begin.

June 11, 2013
Pilot escapes injury in crash landing at Truckee Airport

A 62-year-old pilot walked away uninjured when his plane crashed this afternoon at the Truckee Airport.

The single prop plane left John Wayne Airport in Orange County about 11:45 a.m. with filed instrument plans to land at the Truckee Airport, according to a Nevada County Sheriff's Office news release. About 1:25 p.m., the pilot crashed approximately 40 feet off the Truckee Airport runway into the brush.

Although the plane, described as a Cirrus SR22, was heavily damaged, the pilot walked away from the aircraft without injuries, officials said. The pilot was the only person on board.

June 6, 2013
Suspect arrested in Nevada County assault, robbery

The Nevada County Sheriff's Department announced the arrest of a man in connection with an assault and robbery Monday.

Deputies responded about 11:45 a.m. Monday to medical call from a home in the 14000 block of Idaho Maryland Road. They arrived to find a victim who, according to a witness, had been assaulted with a weapon and tied up by a suspect who had attempted to obtain money from the victim. The victim was transported to a hospital for treatment of injuries, according to a Sheriff's Department news release.

Local law enforcement agencies launched a search for the suspect who was identified as 32-year-old John Grimes.

May 23, 2013
Pilot rescued after reporting crash near Truckee Airport

A pilot was rescued this afternoon after reporting an airplane crash in the Truckee area.

The Nevada County Sheriff's Department received a report about 3 p.m. of a downed aircraft in the area of the Truckee Airport. The reporting party was the lone occupant of the single-engine aircraft that had crashed about 7 miles east of the airport, near the California-Nevada border, according to a Sheriff's Department news release. The victim contacted the sheriff's dispatch center via cell phone.

Helicopter rescue crews from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention and the California Highway Patrol assisted in airlifting the victim from the crash site. The victim's name and condition were not released

Sheriff's officials said the cause of crash is not known. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are being notified and will handle the investigation.



About Sacto 9-1-1

Sacto 9-1-1 is a blog on crime and emergency services news in the Sacramento region.

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