Alleged driver under influence kills two, injures others

An afternoon crashed caused by an alleged impaired driver killed two Indiana residents and injured others Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 21.

According to a statement from the California Highway Patrol, about 1:23 p.m. multiple vehicles were involved in the crash on Highway 395, north of County Road A3.

Douglas Hansken, 67, of Chester, was arrested at the scene for allegedly driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter. He also sustained major injuries and was flown to Renown Medical Center in Reno.

The names of the deceased and others injured are being withheld, pending family notification.

According to the statement, Hansken was traveling northbound on Highway 395 at an undetermined rate of speed in a black GMC pickup. At the same time, a silver Chevrolet Cruze, occupied by four people, was traveling southbound on the highway. A white Hyundai Elantra, transporting five people and a silver Ford Escape followed, carrying four occupants, were traveling southbound, following the Cruze.

According to the CHP, Hansken allegedly swerved across the solid double yellow lines into the southbound lane, side swiping the silver Chevrolet.

Following the initial impact, the statement continued, the GMC continued in the southbound lane striking the white Hyundai head-on.

The GMC rotated onto its side, subsequently striking the Ford.

Both lanes of traffic were blocked due to the collision.

One person, a 76-year-old man from Indiana, a passenger in the Hyundai, was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 75-year-old woman from Indiana, a passenger in the Hyundai, was later pronounced dead at Renown Medical Center in Reno.

The driver of the Hyundai, a 22-year-old from Michigan, sustained major injuries and was transported to Renown Medical Center.

Daniel Merritt, 65, of Susanville, who was driving the Ford Escape, sustained moderate injuries and was transported to Banner Lassen Medical Center.

According to the CHP, this is a preliminary press release and the collision is still under investigation. More information will be provided as the investigation continues.

The CHP is asking anyone who witnessed the collision to contact the office at 252-1800.

The CHP extends gratitude to all who helped during the collision: The Lassen County Sheriff’s Office, the Susanville Police Department, the Milford Fire Department, Janesville Fire Department, CDCR/ HDSP fire, Cal Fire, SEMSA and all civilians who stopped to provide assistance.

29 thoughts on “Alleged driver under influence kills two, injures others

  • Under influence of WHAT?

  • This is a sad situation….for those in the Chester community that know Doug know that he is a very good person and that he will mourn this decision for the rest of his life….he was on his way back from the VA doctors appt in Reno….my thoughts and prayers go out to those lost and those hurt in this horrific accident and may God have mercy on Doug’s soul!

  • Toxicology report came back and Doug WAS NOT drunk!!

    • My name is Cathy, my aunt was one of the female passengers who lost her life in this horrific accident. Her husband died as well. The 2 injured passengers was her grandsons. One of them is in critical condition fighting for his life. My family is scrambling for details to make sense of this horrific loss we are suffering. Where are you getting your information re “not drunk” I want access to the same information on said “toxicology report” I don’t want to believe that this man was intoxicated, if he wasn’t.. I really seriously want to believe that he is a good man, as you say he is.

      • Im friends of the family and im getting my info from them…im sooo sorry for your loss and im praying for peace in your family and praying for strength in the fight for recovery in those who are still alive.. and no in situations like this they have means of ways to get the toxicology reports back just incase of stuff in situations like this….Doug doesn’t take street drugs either…Doctors believe he had a seizure so for his sake i hope he did and for your family’s sake i pray for peace and understanding ….May God be with everybody during this time of need…Amen

        • Why was he charged with DUI then.

      • Hi Cathy, I don’t know anyone involved in this awful accident, but I want you and your family to know that there are so many people in this area sending love, support, strength and prayers to all of you, especially the young man fighting for his life. Too many of us have had our lives touched by a tragedy on this stretch of Hwy 395 and share your pain. Whether this was avoidable or not, will not change the outcome, so (I think) the most important thing for you to know is we are carrying your family in our hearts…I hope you’re able to share good news about the young man’s recovery.

        • He was taken off life support this past week and passed. However the family did donate his organs, so he will live on. My son played lacrosse with him in college and Much of the community around them are just trying to make sense of something you can’t.

    • Also, how could you get access to a “toxicology report” so soon? Toxicology takes 4 to six weeks to process..

      • Not if they put it at the front of the line.

  • Doctors think Doug may have had a seizure, which he has had in the past! But are not common if he takes his medication

    • Any updates how the driver who caused the accident is doing?

    • If he was having seizures he shouldn’t have been driving, DMV would have pulled his license

  • Hopefully he wasn’t all messed up on something. Regardless They need to expand that road and make it divided all the way to Reno. Too many head on collisions. People drive horribly on 395. That way if someone drifts off the road they only take themselves out. How many more deaths will it take?

  • I agree 395 needs to be 4 lanes all the way…way too many accidents and head on collision in past years!

    Doug does not take street drugs other than what is prescribed by his Doctor

  • Hwy 395 is as close as you can get to playing Hwy Russian Roulette. If going to Reno, Hwy 70 seems to have less crazy driving and less dangerous passing going on, even if it takes 15 to 20 minutes longer. Most everybody who has lived 20 years or more in Lassen and Plumas county knows someone who has lost their life or was injured on both Hwy 36 & Hwy 395, RIP Johnny Guess. Cathy Stewart I am very sorry for your loss and may the injured all make a quick full recovery.

  • We were passengers in the third vehicle struck by the pick up truck.I want to thank all of those who assisted after the accident occurred. The first on the scene were civilians, next came Fire Fighters from Milford and Janesville, CDCR/HDSP and Cal-Fire. Soon there were SEMSA Paramedics and Law Enforcement-CHP ,Lassen County Sheriffs Office and Susanville Police Dept. We had great care from the super team at Banner-Lassen Hospital. We are very thankful that we were able to start the healing process-both physical and mental. We had been visiting family in Reno and Susanville and are happy that we can head for home soon. We really appreciate all of great support from this wonderful community. We pray for peace & healing for all involved

  • Cathy, I’m heartbroken for your family. Until the EMT’s arrived I helped with the young man driving the Hyundai. Please tell the young lady I’m sorry I couldn’t help “grandpa”. I hope she and her brother (?) are doing ok. Though I don’t know you folks you’ve been on my mind a lot. We were returning to Eugene OR after visiting friends in NV and very easily could have been in the accident.
    I hope the others of you who were involved are able to start the healing.
    You’re all in my thoughts and hope no one ever has to go through something like this again.

      • Thank you Lisa, how’s the family doing? Jared (?), actually the whole family, will be with me for a long time, I hope he’s making progress. I posted your gofundme link on my FB page hopefully that’ll help.

    • Sue Griffith, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you helping my family before the EMTs arrived. The driver passed away yesterday. The young lady was his girlfriend. Was the driver, Jarred, conscious when you were helping? The man who died on the scene (Grandpa) was my uncle and my aunt died later in Reno. There would have been nothing you could have done for my uncle. He was on a blood thinner for a heart condition. He most likely bled out from the injuries very quickly. I’m sorry that your return home trip was not pleasant but thankful you were not among the injured.

      • Pam, Jarred was not conscious when I got there. I held his hand and talked to him, hoping he could hear reassuring words as an officer put on a c-collar. I told him his family and friends loved him. Thank you for telling me about your uncle. I spoke with your aunt for a little bit too what a sweet lady. I never would have forgiven myself if I drove by and didn’t try to help. I hope you and the whole family are doing as “ok” as one can be after something like this.

  • There is so much sadness surrounding this tragedy. This beautiful family was at their sister/granddaughters wedding 2 days before this tragic accident. The young man fighting for his life is a great kid that mentors and coaches young kids in lacrosse here in Michigan. There are so many people praying for Jarred, his family and all those involved.

  • If it is true that the toxicology report has already been completed and he was indeed “clean”, have the charges been dropped or amended? If he has a siezure disorder, he should not have been driving. An entire family has been devastated due to this man’s negligence in one way or another. Someone needs to be held accountable.

  • the grandson passed away yesterday

    • Oh Lisa, I’m so sad to hear he passed. I hope the family, friends, get the support needed to make it through this horrible time. One second changed the lives of so many…..

Comments are closed.