Every Year in Review issue, The Sheet “celebrates,” or rather “roasts,” the dubious accomplishments of a person who left a skidmark on history. This year, as you can see below, that skidmark was literal.
On Sunday, Jan. 29 at approximately 12:55 p.m., local Mammoth emergency services were called to Snowcreek I condominiums. According to Mammoth Lakes Fire Marshal Thom Heller, a vehicle (later identified as a 2003 Nissan Altima) was headed westbound on Chateau Road and failed to stop for the stop sign at the intersection of Chateau and Minaret Road. The car also failed to stop for a snow bank, which it jumped, went down a hill and crashed into Snowcreek I, units 1, 2, 3 and 4.
John Graves, who lives upstairs from where the car crashed, had been outside with his dogs in the very spot the car hit just seconds before the accident.
“I was letting my dogs out [to go to the bathroom] and had just gone back inside and closed the door when I heard a loud ‘Boom!’” Graves said. “I thought something had fallen out of the closet.”
But when he opened his front door he saw the car at the bottom of the stairs. There were no injuries, but if Graves had been outside a few moments longer, it could have been a different story.
Graves estimated that the car was traveling somewhere around 40 miles per hour. He believed the car hit the snow bank and jumped, coming to a stop at his doorstep.
“I went outside and asked the two girls in the car if they were OK,” Graves said. One of the women was already outside of the car when Graves found them. She quickly told Graves that she was fine, but when he asked the other woman if she was alright, he received no response.
“The car was smoking and both airbags had deployed,” Graves explained. “I turned the car off. The one girl wasn’t responding to me, she seemed dazed so I called 911 and asked them to send an ambulance and a tow truck.”
There were no injuries, according to Heller, but the two female occupants of the vehicle were detained by the Mammoth Lakes Police Department.
By Monday evening, Jan. 30, MLPD confirmed that the driver of the car, Shannon Ellis, 21, of Mammoth Lakes was under the influence of alcohol. She was arrested and booked for 23152 (a) and 23152 (b) of the Vehicle Code (DUI) following a breath test, which showed her blood alcohol level was .22%, nearly three times the legal limit, according to the MLPD press release.
Damages included destruction of the front porch. The corner of the unit downstairs from Graves was hit and a window was broken. Two of the three legs holding the roof over the porch area were also knocked down, according to Heller.
And the runner-up?
When the nice guy working the nightshift at the local service station tells you you’re drunk and that you’d be best served handing him your car keys … do so.
Daniel James Ryan, 19, of Carlsbad chose to ignore the advice he received at Mammoth Chevron on the morning of Feb. 19, and has a seriously damaged (if not totaled) car and pending DUI to show for it.
Ryan pulled up at the Chevron at approximately 5 a.m. in a new passenger car which was still sporting dealer plates. According to the nightshift employee, when he suggested Ryan park the car and give him the keys, Ryan told him, in so many words, to get lost.
When Ryan peeled out at a high rate of speed, the nighshift employee promptly called Mammoth Lakes Police.
Police did not initially locate Ryan in his vehicle. In fact, he was located about 30 minutes later loitering outside Roberto’s Cafe wondering why no one would open up the door and serve him some food.
A policeman gave Ryan a ride back to his dormitory room at Cerro Coso. At the time, the officer did not connect him with the earlier call, nor did he spot the overturned vehicle which Ryan had abandoned in the vicinity of Meridian Boulevard and College Parkway.
An ESTA (Eastern Sierra Transity Authority) was the one who notified police of the overturned vehicle.
By 7 a.m., MLPD officers had traced ownership of the vehicle to Ryan. They found him in his dormitory room, still quite intoxicated.
In fact, when Ryan’s blood alcohol level was finally tested between 8 and 8:30 a.m. (more than three hours after his first identification at Mammoth Chevron), he tested at .14, almost twice the legal limit.
Deputy District Attorney Tim Kendall said Ryan has been charged with DUI (Driving Under the Influence).
A person anonymously wrote The Sheet last week to complain about the Mammoth Chevron employee, saying it was not the employee’s place to call the police.
Lunch not-so-anonymously thanks Mammoth Chevron and its employees for looking out for the safety of the larger community. I also hope the car is not replaced so Mr. Ryan has more time to focus on his studies and perhaps learn a thing or two.