By AMY LINDBLOM
A Murphys man was severely injured yesterday when his motorcycle slammed into a pickup on Highway 4 in Douglas Flat and burst into flames.
Donald Kennedy, 47, was flown by air ambulance to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto with multiple fractures, burns to both legs and facial scratches.
Kennedy was stabilized at the Modesto hospital then flown to University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento last night, where he was listed in critical condition this morning, said a hospital spokeswoman.
California Highway Patrol Officer Bryan Duquesnel said this morning that Kennedy was driving east about 4:45 p.m. yesterday on Highway 4, going about 55 mph, when he struck a Dodge pickup truck on the right side.
Truck driver Joseph Lockary, 82, of Arnold was turning left to go into Live Oak Drive, and told officers he never saw the motorcycle. Lockary was not injured.
Duquesnel said the impact ruptured the gas line on Kennedy's motorcycle which caused the fire. A woman who was driving in front of Kennedy told officers she passed Live Oak Road then looked into her rear view mirror and saw a ball of flames, Duquesnel said.
Traffic on Highway 4 was stopped in both directions for about an hour the eastbound lane was littered with wreckage from the accident and the westbound lane with emergency medical equipment.
An air ambulance helicopter landed on Highway 4 to pick up Kennedy and fly him to Modesto.
Because an officer observed signs that Kennedy had been using alcohol, a blood test was performed at the hospital to help determine if alcohol played a role in the crash, Duquesnel said.