Colfax man survives canal crash

Unknown why 20-year-old veered off interstate from fast lane
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Authorities released Friday the name of the driver who drove off Interstate 80 and into a Lake Arthur spillway Thursday evening. Aaron Portell, 20, of Colfax was treated and released the same night after being airlifted to Sutter Roseville Hospital, according to hospital spokeswoman Robin Montgomery. At about 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Portell was reportedly driving a 1997 Ford pickup at about 65 mph just west of Clipper Gap when, for reasons unknown, his vehicle veered from the fast lane of Interstate 80 off to the right side of the road, collided with a guardrail, went through a chain link fence and overturned before landing on its wheels in a concrete canal, according to California Highway Patrol spokesman Dave Montijo. The case remains under investigation. About six emergency responders helped lift Portell from the bottom the 10-foot deep canal after receiving the call. The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at or post a comment.