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Questions still surround Stockton crash that killed 5 men

7:49 PM, Aug 30, 2013   |    comments
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STOCKTON, CA - Investigators have ruled out criminal activity in a crash that killed five people, but they still want answers.

The crash happened in May when an SUV drove off Lower Jones Road in Stockton and sunk into the San Joaquin Delta. The investigation into the crash is closed, but the release of a 911 recording continues to raise questions.

"Yeah, I want to report a vehicle off of Highway 4 and Bacon Island Road. I was fishing right here at the Lower Jones," a caller told 911 dispatch on Sunday, May 26.

The caller said he was unable to get cell phone reception until nearly an hour after the crash. The California Highway Patrol has now ruled out alcohol or drugs as factors in the crash that killed five men.

"Based on the roadway and the physical evidence, it appears that the driver was unable to negotiate the turn, made just an unsafe turn movement to the left and traveled off the narrow roadway," CHP Officer James Smith said.

Investigators said one passenger survived, but they have never been able to contact that person.

"It seemed like it had about five passengers on there, and it kind of went around the curve 'cause it's a dirt road, and it swerved a little bit, and it went into the lake, and I waited awhile there, and I didn't see any people coming out," the caller said.

Investigators said the driver was one of the five men killed, so the caller's description of five passengers is consistent with the theory of a sole survivor.

"We put a request out for anybody who may be able to identify that person to come forward and help us get him identified," Smith said. "At this point we are still missing that one passenger who never left his name. He was unable to be located and never came forward."

Another limitation came from the 911 caller, who refused to go back to the location to help search parties find the crash site.

"Can you go back to show them?" the operator asked.

"I might be able to. I just don't want to get into any trouble," the caller replied.

"Why would you get into trouble?"

"I don't know. I'm just calling it in," the caller replied.

"So you're not going to go back then unless we absolutely need you, is that what you're telling me?" the operator asked the caller.

"Yeah," he replied.

"Alright we'll get everybody going for them. Thank you."

"There's no suspicion of any type of criminal activity based on our officers' investigation," Smith said. "At this point the investigation is as conclusion unless some type of evidence does come forward that will reopen the case."

Authorities remain interested in finding the missing sole survivor with the hope of learning more about the crash, and they urge everyone to provide as much help as possible.

The CHP said this crash is a painful reminder for everyone to drive safely this Labor Day weekend.

 

News10/KXTV

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