By AMY LINDBLOM
An elderly Sonora man found lying on the side of Shaws Flat Road suffering from hypothermia after a car crash died yesterday.
California Highway Patrol Officer Tom Wills said it is not known how long Anthony Brisco, 73, lay in the grass early yesterday morning, but when paramedics found him, he was cold, semi-conscious and confused.
Brisco was taken by ambulance to Tuolumne General Hospital about 7:30 yesterday morning, almost four hours after his wife noticed he was missing. Because of patient-privacy regulations, a Tuolumne General Hospital spokeswoman would not say how much time elapsed between Brisco's arrival at the hospital and his death.
Brisco's wife called Sonora police at 4:45 a.m. yesterday. She said she woke at 3 a.m. and noticed her husband and their white 1988 Acura both were gone, according to a Sonora police report.
She told a police officer who came to the couple's Shaws Flat Road home that she had last seen her husband about midnight.
She told Officer Jeff Aitken that her husband had been confused and disoriented lately. Although he never went out at night, she said, he sometimes drove on Rawhide and Jamestown roads to get cigarettes during the day.
Sonora police issued a be-on-the-lookout bulletin to both Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. Sheriff's deputies checked Rawhide and Jamestown roads for the car.
At 7:18 a.m. yesterday, a passerby saw a white car on the side of Shaws Flat Road near Saratoga Road at the bottom of a small embankment. The car had gone off the west side of the road and crashed into a wooden fence. The passerby called 911.
Sonora police Officer John Mager arrived at the scene just before paramedics and highway patrol officers, and saw a man helping Brisco. Brisco was kneeling, a police report said.
Paramedics said Brisco was suffering from mild hypothermia and was confused, Wills said.