Man, suspected of DUI, pulled from burning car in Lakeville Highway crash

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Passing Lakeville Highway motorists early Sunday helped an injured driver from his crashed vehicle as it began to burn, according to a Lakeville fire official.

The injured driver, identified Monday afternoon as Robert John Powelson, 46, was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, said CHP Officer David deRutte. Powelson, a Brentwood resident, crashed about 1:45 a.m. while traveling near the southern end of Lakeville Highway. His Nissan dropped down a dirt embankment and ended up in a field, where it caught fire.

Several people called to report the crash and stopped to help. One caller told a dispatcher that four people were running to the burning car. A Lakeville volunteer engine arrived first, in 10 minutes, according to dispatch records, and found 6 to 8 people at the scene with the driver.

The driver was lucky, as he was pulled “out of the vehicle and away as it became fully engulfed,” Lakeville Volunteer Fire Chief Nick Silva said Monday. Powelson appeared to have moderate injuries and was taken by ambulance to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

Flames spread into the field but were doused after burning a small grass area.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707‑521-5412 or On Twitter@rossmannreport.

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