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EDH woman critical after horrific Jeepers Jamboree accident

By From page A1 | August 08, 2012

An accident during the 60th annual Jeepers Jamboree severely injured an El Dorado Hills woman on July 28.

Rachel Anne Gray, 21, was flown to UC Davis Medical Center after her vehicle rolled down a hill near the middle of Cadillac Hill on the Rubicon Trail in Placer County, according to California Highway Patrol officer Dan Stark. Gray and her unidentified, 34-year-old male passenger from Pilot Hill were ejected. Her passenger reportedly suffered minor injuries.

The vehicle caught fire, Stark said, which also set fire to the surrounding area. Gray suffered burns and later had her left leg amputated below the knee.

Family spokesman Chris Patton, who confirmed that Gray has third-degree burns over 75 percent of her body, said Gray went into surgery Aug. 1 for the amputation.

“She was in surgery for seven hours. She’s making a great recovery and had a great night,” Patton said last week. Skin grafts had to be applied to Gray’s abdomen and Patton added, “She’s scheduled for surgeries the rest of the week.”

Patton also said Gray’s parents encourage friends to show their support, adding, “Nurses have been amazed at her recovery.”

A UC Davis Medical Center spokesperson lists Gray in critical condition and Patton said she remains stable.

Friend Lori Wilson said Gray, a real estate agent at Re/Max Gold in Fair Oaks, could face a challenging recovery period — six to nine months.

“She is fighting hard and has lots of love and support, but this will be a very long recovery,” Wilson wrote on Facebook and shared with Village Life. “The recovery process will be long and extensive, but she will get through this thanks to the love and support of everyone!”

Georgetown Gazette editor Rebecca Murphy, who was on the Rubicon when the wreck occurred, reported that Gray’s vehicle was traveling uphill when it veered off, possibly due to a vehicle coming downhill. The CHP report lists the incident as a “solo vehicle” accident, meaning another vehicle likely did not play a part.

“Gasoline spewed from the vehicle as it rolled 150 to 200 feet down the cliff,” Murphy wrote in notes brought out of the Rubicon by Chelsea Esposito, publisher Richard Esposito’s daughter, who hiked out. The woman identified by Stark as Gray had fallen into the gasoline when the vehicle caught fire.

Murphy also reported that two men were injured, not one — one had a neck injury; the other had a broken ankle.

At the site of the accident where the flames extended beyond the vehicle and into nearby wildland the U.S. Forest Service crews dropped water on the fire that grew to about two acres as of July 30, Murphy said. As Jeeps left the area Forest Service officials stopped them twice, for two hours at a time. “They had to fell large trees,” explained Murphy, which she said had “snags that were smoldering over the trail. The Forest Service was anxious to get us out, or close the road.”

It took a call from El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini at the behest of the Jeepers Jamboree Committee to urge officials to allow the Jeeps to finish the trail. Most spent an extra day in Rubicon Springs before driving out at 7 a.m. on July 30.

The fire has since been contained and extinguished.

An account has been set up to accept donations for Gray at the El Dorado Savings Bank under the name of Rachel Anne Gray. The account number is 263017782. A Facebook page has been set up at facebook.com/RAGEFoundation, after Gray’s nickname.

Cole Mayer


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