By James Raia
Raymond Poquette, an 80-year-old man with a history of vehicle-related crimes, has been charged with murder with his motorhome in Grass Valley, California.
On New Year’s Eve, law enforcement authorities arrested Poquette after he drove his 35-foot motorhome into oncoming traffic on Highway 49 in the foothill community, 55 miles northeast of Sacramento.
The motorhome hit a Nissan Altima head-on and another car on its side and it flipped several times. Poquette has been charged with murder in the death of a yet-to-be-identified 56-year-old Grass Valley woman.
History of motorhome crime
The California Highway Patrol said the motorhome also struck a vehicle traveling behind the woman, resulting in minor injuries for the driver.
Chris Walsh, the Nevada County Assistant District Attorney, told The Union newspaper in Grass Valley that Poquette has a history of using his vehicle as a lethal weapon.
In 2009, Poquette was chased by the California Highway Patrol for 12 miles on Highway 20 before his car was disabled with a spike strip. He was arrested on suspicion of evading a peace officer while operating a vehicle.
In 2017, Poquette turned his motorhome across Highway 49 into oncoming traffic. It collided head-on with another motorhome.
In 2018, Poquette was arrested on vandalism charges in Grass Valley after police said witnesses followed him as he keyed six cars. Poquette was taken to the hospital for a mental health evaluation, was cleared and booked. Poquette remains in custody.
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James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.