REDDING, Calif. — A man walking along the side of a dark and unlit section of State Route 273 near Breslauer Way has died after being struck by a vehicle late Wednesday evening, June 17. An Anderson motorist driving an SUV towing a pontoon boat was later arrested after the allegedly intoxicated driver fatally struck the pedestrian, according to officials.
Although the driver, since identified as 63-year-old, Stewart Helmer, told officers he swerved in an attempt to avoid the pedestrian, officials who investigated the deadly collision determined the Anderson man’s boat had fatally struck the victim. Officers also determined Helmer been driving under the influence when the fatal accident happened.
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Redding Police and Fire personnel were dispatched to the area at 10:53 p.m., after receiving reports of a vehicle that struck a pedestrian, Redding Police Department Traffic Division Officer Eddy Gilmette later said of the deadly collision.
When officials arrived at the scene, they found a critically injured man down along the west curb of SR-273. They also found Helmer, who had stopped after the collision and called 911 after attempting to render aid to the victim.
Officers are seen giving 63-year-old, Stewart Helmer, of Anderson, a field sobriety test after last night’s deadly collision. He was later arrested.
The pedestrian, who sustained major injuries after being struck, was rushed to Mercy Medical Center by ground ambulance where he later succumbed to his injuries and passed away. The victim’s name has not been released, pending positive identification and notification of the man’s family.
During their subsequent investigation, Helmer told officers he was driving his SUV while pulling his boat southbound on SR-273 in the right-hand lane, according to Gilmette.
“Helmer said he saw the pedestrian near the west fog line and swerved to avoid a collision,” explained Gilmette; who added that officers later determined the front right pontoon of Helmer’s boat struck the pedestrian, causing his fatal injuries.
After hitting the pedestrian, Helmer immediately pulled to the side of the road to check the welfare of the victim, according to Gilmette. He then called 911 and remained at the scene and waited for officers and medical personnel to arrive.
While later interviewing Helmer, “officers observed objective signs of intoxication,” said Gilmette. “Helmer was ultimately arrested and transported to the Shasta County Jail where he was booked for DUI and vehicular manslaughter.”
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During their investigation, officials called for the temporary closure of SR-273 between Breslauer Way and Kenyon Dr. The highway was reopened several hours later, around 3:30 a.m.
Anyone with further information regarding this investigation or who witnessed the fatal collision and has not yet provided a statement to authorities is encouraged to immediately contact Redding PD at (530) 225-4283. Callers can refer to incident file number 20R037744 and can remain anonymous.
This is a developing story that will be updated as new information becomes available.
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Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 16 grandchildren.