Person Who Sparked Kyburz Fire Facing Hit-and-Run, Arson Charges

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This section of roadway along Highway 50 is where California Highway Patrol believes the Kyburz fire started. Several witnesses said they saw a wheel fly off a car being towed.

Sparks flew and the tire rolled into the grass.

“Possibly it was the super-heated wheel assembly or it was the sparks that ignited some of the hillside on fire,” said CHP Officer Phillip McCain.

CHP says the driver abandoned the vehicle it was towing along Highway 50, but not before dragging it several feet.

That’s why McCain says the driver will be charged with a misdemeanor hit-and-run.

“The fact that a vehicle has lost a component part … By them not leaving information at the vehicle, or calling us in to say this is what happened, its classified as a hit-and-run,” McCain said.

CHP says you can be charged with a hit and run even if your car doesn’t hit anything. But, McCain says this driver could find himself in even bigger trouble for what he did after he realized he lost the wheel.

“A little further down the roadway – where they were able to get to a pull out area – they parked it, locked it and left the scene,” McCain said.

The registration off the abandoned vehicle is linked to Bakersfield. If this driver is found, he could face a hit and run charge – and McCain says possibly an arson charge for starting the fire that has now grown to about 615 acres.


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