January 23, 2017 – On 01/21/2017 at approximately 2:00 AM, 48-year old Auburn resident Lavinia Burge was driving a 2005 Toyota Highlander southbound on Hwy-49, just north of Motherlode Rd., at an unknown speed.

For unknown reasons, Burge allowed her vehicle to steer to the right and leave the west road edge of SR-49. Burge’s vehicle traveled for a short distance upon the dirt shoulder where the front of Burge’s vehicle collided with a previously fallen tree.

The fallen tree was located completely on the road shoulder and did not affect the traffic lanes. The impact with the tree caused major damage to the Toyota. Burge and was pronounced deceased at the scene by a Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Ambulance paramedic.

The southbound lane of SR-49 was blocked for approximately one hour to care for the deceased party, removal of the vehicle involved, and scene investigation. One way traffic control was used and the impact on traffic was minimal. At this time, it is unknown if drugs or alcohol are a factor in this collision.