DUI rollover crash caused by underage drinking
In the predawn hours of Tuesday, January 7, a California Highway Patrol officer was dispatched to investigate a rollover crash about four miles up South Fork Drive. According to the CHP report, a 19-year-old Exeter resident was driving a 2010 Toyota Corolla up-canyon on South Fork Drive when he failed to negotiate the curve approaching the metal bridge that crosses the South Fork of the Kaweah River. The vehicle collided with the bridge abutment, rolled over, and landed on its wheels.
The driver and his 17-year-old male passenger were injured but able to extricate themselves from the wreckage. The passenger, who was not named due to his age, is a resident of Three Rivers, according to the CHP. He suffered facial lacerations and a broken right leg. The driver also had facial lacerations.
An ambulance responded to the scene but it is unclear if both driver and the passenger were transported to Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia for treatment.
As a result of the accident, the driver was charged with felony DUI. He will lose his license and be required to serve a jail sentence. Both the driver and the passenger were determined to be intoxicated at the scene.
As of Thursday, January 9, the current storage at Lake Kaweah was 29,354 acre feet not atypical for this time of year. The water level in the basin will continue to lower slightly until there is a significant storm event. Lake Kaweah has recorded 4.28 inches of rainfall since the current 2019-20 season began on October 1, 2019.
January 2020 is off to a cool, dry start but forecasters are saying don’t rule out a surprise. The current pattern brings below-average precipitation but that does not mean zero.
More rain in the new year entered the region (January 9) but it was widely scattered. These types of systems tend to bring little moisture to the valleys and foothills but can still be good snow producers in the Sierra Nevada high country due to their Arctic origins .
Relative snowfall is where a dramatic shift is occurring. Coming out of a December that produced only a total of four inches of rain year-to-date (Three Rivers) is not unusual, but trending is the majority of each season’s precipitation (20 inches) is now coming later and during storms with milder temperatures. That translates to higher elevation snowpack and diminished runoff reaching Lake Kaweah.
Lake stats— Those December storms contributed to a quick rise in the water level in Lake Kaweah. As of Thursday, January 9, the pool elevation was 612.95 above mean sea level; storage was 29,354 acre feet; mean inflow was 196 cubic feet per second; and outflow was 741 cfs. Lake Kaweah checks in with a rainfall total of 4.28 inches since October 1, 2019.
The 10-day forecast shows some intermittent rain starting January 16 but no major shift in the current pattern.
Three Rivers Union School update
Among the agenda items at the regular board meeting on Wednesday, January 8, of the Three Rivers Union School trustees, was the use of the former Special Education classroom in the newly remodeled hexagon wing. Peter Mestaz, trustee, and a contingent of parents had urged Superintendent Sue Sherwood to use the newly renovated classroom as the fifth-grade classroom. It was instead decided to use that space as a science lab that will be available to all grade levels.
Under Old Business at the meeting, it was announced that TRUS is still facing a budget deficit. The board is encouraging parents and the public to furnish input on possible budget reductions and/or ways to generate more revenue for the kindergarten-through-eighth grade school with a current enrollment of 136.
Sue Sherwood, superintendent, principal, and eighth grade teacher, announced she will stepping away from teaching in the 2020-2021 school year, but would like to remain as part-time superintendent. This will mean at least two combination classes next fall; grades to be determined.
The next TRUS board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 5, 6:30 p.m., in the school library.