What to do if you’ve been in a car accident
A Cal Fire firefighter died Saturday in a car crash in Merced County, the California Highway Patrol confirmed.
Cal Fire officials identified the firefighter as Capt. Stacy Hamilton, who worked out of Tuolumne County.
“With deep sadness, we announce the passing of Fire Captain Stacy Hamilton,” officials said in the social media post. “Captain Hamilton was killed in a vehicle accident in Merced County. Please join us in keeping Stacy’s loved ones and fellow personnel in @CALFIRETCU in our thoughts as we all mourn this tragic loss.”
CHP Officer Eric Zuniga said Hamilton was traveling alone in a 2004 Subaru Outback when the car left the roadway and overturned at least once on Snelling Road, near La Paloma Raod, in a remote area between Merced and the community of Snelling.
The crash was reported to the CHP at 2:20 a.m.
Hamilton, a 49-year-old Fresno County resident, was wearing a seat belt. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Zuniga said neither drugs nor alcohol are believed to have been involved in the crash.
It wasn’t immediately clear where Hamilton was heading or where he was coming from, Zuniga said, but investigators said he appeared to be in his personal vehicle and on personal time.
“It’s still very early in the investigation and they’re working to get more information,” Zuniga told the Sun-Star.
He is survived by his wife, Katie, and two teenage sons, Ian and Logan.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the flags in the Capitol would fly at half-staff in honor of Hamilton.
“On behalf of all Californians, Jennifer and I extend our condolences to Captain Stacy Hamilton’s family, friends and colleagues in this difficult time,” Newsom said. “It’s the work of brave firefighters like Stacy that keeps our communities safe and we are deeply grateful for his service.
According to a Cal Fire Facebook post, Hamilton joined the Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit in 2006 and was assigned to the Sierra Training Center, Forestry Training Program. He trained inmates for four years until he was transferred to the Columbia Helitack Program and began his devotion to the Cal Fire Aviation Program.
In 2013, Hamilton moved into the fixed-wing side and was assigned to the Columbia Air Attack Base, near the Sierra Nevada foothills in Tuolomne County.
He was described as “an extremely talented” supervisor and “a great friend, mentor and person.”
Before joining Cal Fire, Hamilton worked for the United States Forest Service.