A conflict Tuesday morning between North Fork men with a reported history of hostility caused a three-vehicle wreck at the mill site, followed by someone allegedly brandishing an assault rifle in front of a crowd.
Around 8 a.m., the two men met at the Gas N’ Stuff location near the center of town, and left in their vehicles - a red Dodge Ram truck and an orange Jeep.
Madera County Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Ward said stories vary on what happened next.
According to the man driving the Jeep, the truck chased him at high speeds along Road 225 towards the intersection with Douglas Ranger Station Road.
At that point, the Dodge hit the Jeep, and then a Chevrolet Silverado, driven by a woman, slammed into the truck.
Ward said as radio calls came in, the two men were reportedly yelling at each other and running back and forth across the roadway as some 15 people watched. Witnesses from the crowd told sheriff’s deputies that someone pulled a gun.
“Somebody told us that someone pulled an assault rifle but they took off with it,” Ward said. “So we never found anybody with a rifle, but we were told it happened.”
The female Silverado driver told authorities after the wreck, where all three vehicles sustained serious damage, that another woman argued with her before the two came to blows.
One-lane traffic controls were established as the entire scene was investigated.
Ward said CHP is investigating the crash, while sheriff’s deputies are looking into possible charges related to the wild situation that followed it.