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Woman Driving While High on Pain Pills Causes 450-Acre Willow Fire in Northern California

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Willow fire

Photo: mymotherlode via YouTube

You know how, on many prescription-strength pain pills, they tell you explicitly not to drive or operate heavy machinery while using them? That probably goes for double if you aren’t the prescription holder, because of all the damage it could do to you, your vehicle, or anyone around you.

Oh, and we can probably add “hundreds of acres of forest and houses” to that list, because of one woman driving under the influence of controlled substances.


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That woman is named Rene Hogan, and she started a wildfire in Northern California because she was so high that she didn’t notice her back tire go flat, wear down to the rim, and catch both the car and the dry grass beside the highway on fire.

Hogan’s trail of destruction was noticed far, far too late by a passing motorist, who tried to get her attention and ultimately drove in front of her to get her to stop, at which point police who arrived on the scene judged that the wheel rim had been worn down by three whole inches.

The flaming grass grew into the Willow fire, which as of Monday morning had burned 450 acres, and was 30% contained.

Thankfully it doesn’t seem to have been as devastating as the Butte fire that hit the area last year, which killed two people and burned hundreds of homes—the Willow fire seems to have damaged one home, but with no injuries or deaths reported.

In total, Hogan is being booked for driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license (because, really, of course it was suspended), with California Fire investigators seeking additional charges for causing a fire that burned a home and state forest during a state emergency.


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News Sources: CBS, LA Times