Accident Burns Rachel Gray, 21, of El Dorado Hills & Delays Jeepers Jamboree. Rachel Anne Gray Dies from Injuries
UPDATE: An El Dorado Hills woman. injured more than a month ago in an off-road crash on the Rubicon Trail, has died, according to the Sacramento County Coroner's office.
Rachel Anne Gray, 21, died at 12:08 a.m. Sunday Sept 2, 2012.
A fire along the Rubicon Trail near Tahoe in Placer County was started around 6:30 p.m. Saturday by a vehicle accident during the annual Jeepers Jamboree. Two people were injured and taken to a hospital by helicopter, according to El Dorado County Sheriff's Department officials. The 60th Jeepers Jamboree has been extended due to a fire on the exit path of the Rubicon Trail.
The fire started due to an unfortunate rollover on Cadillac Hill. Three guests were injured, but were responded and rescued by trained paramedics and doctors within minutes. The fire was result of the roll-over and was also responded to within minutes by Jeepers Jamboree staff. Trained fire choppers were onsite and dropping water on the area within the hour.
Officer Dan Stark of the CHP said that Rachel Anne Gray, 21, of El Dorado Hills, was traveling on the Rubicon Trail in Placer County, “heading northbound on the trail, near the middle of Cadillac Hill” when she veered off the side of the Road. The vehicle rolled over multiple times, ejecting Gray and her unidentified male passenger, 34, of Pilot Hill. The vehicle caught fire which also set fire to the surrounding area. Gray suffered “major injuries” while the passenger suffered “minor injuries,” Stark said.
Rebecca Murphy of the Georgetown Gazette reported that “Gasoline spewed from the vehicle as it rolled 150-200 feet down the cliff.” Murphy reported that in notes brought out of the Rubicon by someone who walked out, that a woman identified by Stark as Gray had fallen into the gasoline when the vehicle caught fire, causing “the flames (to shoot up) the hill. The flames burned off her clothes and from 70 to 90 percent” of her body.
Rachel Gray, the El Dorado Hills woman who suffered major burns required her left leg below the knee to be amputated at UC Davis Burn Unit Wednesday morning and is in critical but stable condition. UC Davis Medical Center still lists Gray in critical condition and Patton said she remains stable. Friend Lori Wilson say Gray, a real estate agent at Re/Max Gold in Fair Oaks, could face a long recovery of between six and nine months.
“She is fighting hard and has lots of love and support, but this will be very long recovery,” Wilson wrote on Facebook. “The recovery process will be long and extensive, but she will get through this thanks to the love and support of everyone!”
The two-acre blaze closed a county road, said Ann Westling, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service. The Forest Service stopped them twice, for two hours at a time. “The Forest Service kept closing the road,” said Murphy, who was part of the last group of 200 or so Jeeps. “They had to fell large trees,” which she said had “snags that were smoldering over the trail,” and prevented the Jeeps continuing on their route.
Attendees of the Jeepers Jamboree said that Rachel Gray was not part of the event but was traveling though independently.
The Jeepers Jamboree guests and staff were in a safe environment in the Rubicon Springs. The Rubicon Trail, a County Road, was closed at the commonly known spot of Cadillac Hill. So named for the old Cadillac found up toward the top of the Hill. All that remains after years of scavenging are the chassis and some drivetrain components. Cadillac is a long tough hill with some sections of loose rock and a few hairpin turns. Most of it is one vehicle wide. Cadillac Hill is a steep section of trail leveling off and providing a wonderful vista of the Rubicon Trail.
The 60th Jeepers Jamboree has been extended due to a fire on the exit path of the Rubicon Trail. The Jeepers usually end their trek Sunday night, said officials. Guests have been asked to stay in Rubicon Springs as they manage the fire Sunday instead of attempting to exit back through Loon Lake.
The Forest Service has been diligently containing the fire, and Jeepers Jamboree guests have been asked to stay in Rubicon Springs and enjoy another day of relaxation. “We have had a wonderful 60th celebration this weekend,” said Dan DeWolf. “This has thrown a bit of a wrench in the exit plan for some, but we are happy to have them stay with us another day, feed everyone and enjoy another night of celebration.”
The five-day excursion usually brings Jeep enthusiasts from throughout the world to the Rubicon Trail in El Dorado and Placer counties, each year. About 400 vehicles make the bumpy trek annually.
Lacey Stiles, an employee of Jeepers Jamboree Inc. in Georgetown, said that Jamboree participants would have to stay in camp overnight because the road was closed. She said they didn't have enough gas to turn around. Stiles said she was calling family members to alert them to the delay.
The accident is being investigated by the CHP. El Dorado County deputies assisted the Placer County Sheriff's Department with the incident.
Any additional information or updates will be posted on www.JeepersJamboree.com and on Jeepers Jamboree Facebook page.
August 13, 2012 10:34 PM | Mother Of Rubicon Trail Accident Victim Talks About Terrifying Ordeal
EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) – “Your world is just never going to be the same and everything flashes before you in seconds.”
That was the reaction from Leesa Williams when she learned her 21-year-old daughter had nearly died after her jeep rolled over on the Rubicon Trail in El Dorado County.
“It was my mom and I knew when the phone rang and it was her, I’m like ‘something’s not right,’” she said.
It’s the moment any mother would dread. Williams learned that her daughter Rachel Gray had been in a terrible accident.
“Your entire world stops,” Williams said. “Everything you thought you knew is gone.”
Rachel was rock-crawling on the Rubicon Trail two weeks ago. Her jeep went off the side of a cliff and caught fire.
She was air-lifted to the hospital.
“I just kept talking to her and asking her to hang on,” Williams said.
And she has, even with third-degree burns on 75 percent of her body, crushed ribs, a broken pelvis and an amputated leg.
“Rachel’s in serious condition, there’s no doubt,” her mother said. “We take it hour by hour, day by day. What gets us through that is looking at knowing she’s going to be running marathons.”
Rachel’s recovery will be long, but her mother knows she has the drive to pull through and the strength to not only help herself, but others facing the unfathomable.
“For Rachel Anne’s story to be an inspiration and to be kind of a wake-up call for those of us who have taken so many things for granted,” her mother said.
After what happened, Rachel’s friends came up with The Rage Foundation. So far they have raised $25,000 to help pay for her recovery.
Rachel is expecting to be in the burn unit another six months and faces a long recovery after that.