By Marshall Smith, Staff Reporter
According to California Highway Patrol (CHP) Public Information Officer (PIO) Scott Beauchene, early Tuesday morning March 23, at about 5:30 a.m., a white pick up truck heading south on Highway 243 crossed lanes, hit the edge of the Lake Fulmor bridge and careened into Lake Fulmor. According to the CHP incident report, the truck is registered to an Idyllwild owner who said she was unaware her truck had been taken and declined to file a theft report.
Beauchene said at this point that the CHP incident report is complete.
Shortly after the incident, the U.S. Forest Service, within whose jurisdiction the lake falls, notified Riverside County’s Office of Emergency Services to dispatch a Hazmat group to the scene. Clean up began Tuesday and was continuing through Wednesday. Cleanup, because of possible gas and automotive fluid leakage into the lake, has been extensive with crews from the Forest Service, Riverside County Hazmat, the Forest Service Hazmat specialist, Forest Service Fire Prevention, and Forest Service Recreation Officer John Ladley — in all about 10 people in addition to CHP initial responders.
Miller expects cleanup to finish on Thursday, March 25 and for the lake to reopen on Friday the 26th. Clean up costs will exceed $23,000.The footbridge on the north side of the lake near the highway was damaged from the vehicle’s trajectory and will remain closed for the immediate future. There is no current repair schedule for the footbridge, but the car owner and the driver, should that person be found and identified will be liable for cleanup and bridge repair costs, according to Miller.
top photo courtesy of John Miller, Information officer San Bernardino Naitonal Forest.
Bottom photo by Idyllwild Town Crier