Truck crashes into theater; woman killed
A Truckee resident was killed Monday night when she was struck by a speeding vehicle as she and her family were about to enter the Brockway Theater in Kings Beach.
At 7:04 p.m., Kings Beach resident Stephen Ramm was driving eastbound on State Route 28 through Kings Beach toward Crystal Bay, when his 1981 Dodge pickup truck swerved into the westbound lane, then continued up onto the sidewalk, stopping inches from the front door of the Brockway Theater, located at 8707 North Lake Blvd.
At the same time, the Kelly family of Truckee — Joan and Crispin and their 16-year-old son Kyle — were walking toward the cinema, anticipating an evening out.
Ramm’s truck struck all three, killing Joan Kelly, 45, at the scene.
“The vehicle struck the husband and son first, but they were off to the side [of the vehicle],” said Officer Wes Maehler of the California Highway Patrol. “[Mrs. Kelly] was right in the center of the truck, so she really had no chance.”
Crispin and Kyle were transported to Tahoe Forest Hospital for observation and treatment. The elder Kelly was diagnosed with an acute right elbow contusion, and was discharged from the hospital at 11:10 p.m. Kyle was diagnosed with a cervical spine strain and was released at 12:20 a.m. Tuesday, March 5.
The North Tahoe Fire District of California responded to the accident, along with California Highway Patrol officers.
One Brockway Theater employee said he thought there had been an earthquake after he heard the crash.
“I heard a huge bang and the building shook,” said Oscar Luna, who was working upstairs at the theater, getting the movie ready to start, when the truck struck at about 7 p.m.
Luna went downstairs and saw the front door was blocked by the truck. Noting smoke pouring from the vehicle, he quickly directed customers to evacuate the building through a back door.
Ramm, 46, was also taken to Tahoe Forest Hospital. Hospital spokeswoman Teri Smith said Ramm had minor cuts and abrasions, and that he was in good condition but remained for observation. On Tuesday afternoon, he was transferred to Washoe Medical Center in Reno for further evaluation.
Ramm had been heading eastbound at 50 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone, according to Maehler. The Kellys had been walking northbound.
Maehler said investigators are looking into a possible medical condition that could have caused Ramm to lose consciousness temporarily during the time of the accident.
“We need to find out if his condition was something that he was aware of and if this was something that had happened to him before,” Maehler said.
CHP Officer Tony Prisco is investigating the incident.
As of Wednesday morning, Maehler said the CHP had yet to decide whether or not to take the case to the district attorney’s office to file charges.
“The investigation is still in its baby stages,” he said. “I suspect that it will probably take a week or two for us to complete it.”
Maehler said as far as he knows, the driver had not been tested for alcohol or drugs.
He also said he did not believe Ramm, who works for the U.S. Postal Service, has a previous criminal record.
As of the Sierra Sun’s deadline Wednesday morning, no information was available regarding funeral services and memorials for Joan Kelly.
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