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Driver in Tuesday Truck Crash Arrested on Suspicion of DUI

Richard Marshall of Novato, who is being treated for serious injuries, is a captain with the Ross Valley Fire Department.

A captain with the Ross Valley Fire Department is recovering from a Tuesday morning crash in Novato that left him with serious injuries and a possible drunken driving charge, authorities said. 

Richard Marshall, 46, of Novato sustained broken bones and a possible broken back when his truck hit a tree, the California Highway Patrol said. Marshall was driving a 2006 Dodge Ram pickup and towing a boat when he ran off the road on a rural stretch of Novato Boulevard.

An emergency call was placed at 6:42 a.m. to report a crash in the 2700 block of Novato Boulevard, about one mile west of San Marin High School, according to the Novato Fire District.

Battalion Chief Mike Hughes of Novato Fire said Marshall, who was alone in the truck, was trapped until a mechanical extrication device was used to rescue him. It appeared the pickup rolled before coming to rest on its tires, he said. KTVU-TV reported that Marshall was semiconscious when he was transported to Marin General Hospital.

The 24-foot speedboat became detached from the pickup and its trailer during the crash and ended up in the dry Bowman Canyon Creek bed. Debris was strewn across a wide area.

The CHP continues to investigate the wreck.

CHP Officer Mary Ziegenbein said Wednesday that crash investigators were told that somebody at the scene detected an odor of alcohol on the driver. Marshall was transported to the hospital before CHP officers arrived at the crash site.

"We placed the driver under arrest at the hospital to get a blood sample, then released him to the custody of the hospital," Ziegenbein said. "I'm told he went into surgery right after that."

Charges have not been filed against Marshall, and the CHP is awaiting results from the blood sample, which might take two or three weeks, Ziegenbein said.

A Novato Fire District source said Marshall was in surgery most of Tuesday afternoon. His health status is unknown; a message to Marin General Hospital's public information officer was unreturned.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Ross Valley Fire Department issued a two-paragraph press release that said "On behalf of the family, we are asking that everyone respect (the family's) privacy during this difficult time."

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Novatan September 20, 2012 at 02:45 AM
So we have a firefighter. No, sorry a CAPTAIN driving drunk and crashing into a tree inches from the site of a recent drunk driving tragedy.. at 6:30 in the MORNING? I wish him a full and speedy recovery... followed by a long stint in the county jail! Thank God he didn't kill an innocent family! Shame on you, sir.
San Rafael September 20, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Novatan You are a fool to condem a person before you have all the answers. 2 to 3 weeks for test results. If someone thinks they smell something it has to be investigated. It does not mean its true, at this time. You are the type of person who starts a witch hunt. Shame on YOU!
NovatoGuy September 20, 2012 at 03:54 AM
Wishing him a speedy recovery. Also glad he didn't break some innocent person's back.
Novatan September 20, 2012 at 04:21 AM
I'm condemning him based on the information contained in the article, yes. If he is proven innocent - I will condemn the Patch for misinformation! In the meantime, the facts show that stretch of Novato Blvd is deadly, and always has been. I am a resident who drives it frequently, often with white knuckles worrying if my family will be the next victim of a drunken idiot out there.
Bob September 20, 2012 at 02:28 PM
"We placed the driver under arrest at the hospital to get a blood sample, then released him to the custody of the hospital," The article is a little misleading. To me, it sounds like he was arrested to legally take a blood sample. I agree that it is a little soon to jump to the conclusion that he was drunk.
Charmagne September 20, 2012 at 02:47 PM
It's so distressing that people feel free to indulge in their holier-than-tho, pedantic, ill-timed, rush to judgement and post negative comments about someone for whom they know nothing. You don't know the circumstances and you don't know that he was drinking. Set your negative, mean-spirited attitude aside and try to foster some positive thoughts for a fellow human being and his family.
Brent Ainsworth (Editor) September 20, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Folks: The story does not say the driver was drunk. The story says a witness smelled alcohol and the CHP took a blood sample. Just the facts from trusted sources.
Just My Opinion September 20, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Please show some compassion for this mans family. I hope that he has a speedy recovery.There could have been alcohol in the back of the truck that broke causing the smell or any number of other explanations. The job of the CHP is to investigate, wait till they are sure before jumping to conclusions. And the Patch simply gave the facts as they know them, thank you Brent for keeping on top of things.
Charmagne September 20, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Well said :)
NovatoGuy September 20, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Jumping to conclusions? You have a fire CAPTAIN crashing. A witness smelling alcohol. The man being arrested to take a blood sample. And all of this being reported. Of course, we have due process and sure, the man may not have been drunk. Hey, maybe a deer jumped out in front of him, and a bottle of mouthwash broke. Anything's possible. But yeah, let's wait for the result of the blood test, anything is possible. I just hope the Patch reports the result of the blood test, if that is made available. And whether he was drunk or not, I hope he makes a good recovery, and I am glad he didn't slam his truck into an innocent person. And I wonder when this DUI insanity will change.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr September 20, 2012 at 06:49 PM
I do have compassion for the fire captain and for his family. Alcohol can be a severe addiction, especially when it is alleged to have inhibited a person at 6:42 in the morning. All that said, if the injured fire captain is found to have consumed alcohol and then drove a motor vehicle on public roads, he should have his driving privilege revoked for life. And that may mean that he would no longer qualify to be a fire fighter, because they often drive really big trucks. Even driving a sedan to a fire can create a dangerous situation above that of the fire. Like sheriff Domestic Violence, that might disqualify the fire captain from his position.
NovatoGuy September 20, 2012 at 07:28 PM
http://www.marinij.com/novato/ci_21587480/chp-off-duty-firefighter-injured-novato-wreck-suspected. Going to the DA for review.
NovatoGuy September 20, 2012 at 07:31 PM
About this whole compassion thing --- how much compassion will you have when this captain slams his truck in a drunken state (or otherwise) into you or a loved one?
NovatoGuy September 20, 2012 at 07:32 PM
I couldn't agree more.
NovatoGuy September 20, 2012 at 07:32 PM
http://www.marinij.com/novato/ci_21587480/chp-off-duty-firefighter-injured-novato-wreck-suspected
NovatoGuy September 20, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I disagree. I think people are expressing their rage and frustration with people who drive while intoxicated and put other innocent people at risk.
The County September 21, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Novato Guy, you need to get a hobby or something and get off of your know it all attitude. We live in America and people are innocent until proven guilty. You apparently despise drunk drivers...I get that. But until he is proven guilty of DUI, you need to back off. He has a family who are likely going through a terrible time. His injuries are extensive. When all of the facts are in, feel free to jump on your soap box.
Mark Schoenbaum September 21, 2012 at 02:28 AM
I have an idea, bud light, he can do your hobby -creating troll accounts on the fly to slam people who do not share your opinion.
NovatoGuy September 21, 2012 at 03:55 PM
I have plenty of hobbies, and never claimed to know it all. You're saying something I already did, innocent until proven guilty. Do you have a love for drunk drivers? Do you think drunk drivers should be given a trophy and taken out to dinner, with maybe a bonus after they kill some innocent person?
Cate K September 21, 2012 at 05:45 PM
DO NOT jump to conclusions people. Rick is a good man and his wife has been by his side all week. Have some compassion and give him a chance to be innocent unless proven otherwise.
Robert Ross Ganiard September 22, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Rick had packed his boat and truck for a camping trip to the lake after his shift. His load of food and libation was spread over wreck scene - He is a good solid guy and deserves community support. Please give him and his family the benefit of doubt., thanks,
Franky September 22, 2012 at 02:11 PM
If for no other reason, STOP with negative comments, for his family. They are still grieving the loss of Rick's twin less than two years ago. PLEASE!!
Charmagne September 24, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Novatan - nobody has asked you to show compassion for a "Drunk Driver". EVERYBODY is asking you to reserve your judgement and comments for when FACTS are presented that he WAS drinking. You are entitled to your opinion, we are just asking that you save it for a more appropriate time - the appropriate time (if you must) is AFTER a charge has been levied. It's why we have Due Process.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr September 24, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Why have we not learned the results of the blood alcohol tests. They have been processed by now. Who is sitting on that information, the DA or the family?
Dave September 25, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Can you imagine getting in accident, your neck is broken, your life is changed forever. Can you imagine being a fireman for 20 years, saving lives, saving property, risking your life daily for your community and getting back these comments? Hopefully, he never gets to see these comments because I am sure it would break his heart. Have you ever been falsely accused of something? I am sure everyone has in there life. Think about that. Perhaps the reason the results of the blood test is taking so long is that the initial results proved he was clean, and perhaps being a fireman he is held to a higher standard, which prompted further testing. Hopefully the DA or whoever is holding these results can make them public and then will there be an apology? From the IJ? From you? I think that is when comments should be made.
SHROYER FOR SUPERVISOR 2014 October 03, 2012 at 03:34 AM
My heart and prayers goes out to The Marshall Family. The Marshall's are such a kind family and good, quality people. We surround you Rick and your beautiful wife with love.
Novatan October 18, 2012 at 04:06 PM
It's been a month... are the results in?
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr October 19, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Not that the accused and his family wish to admit!
NovatoGuy December 05, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Well now, turns out he really was drunk. Who woulda thunk? http://novato.patch.com/articles/fire-captain-was-drunk-on-his-way-to-work-da-says
Novatan December 05, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Finally - The results are in and, as speculated, the driver was DRUNK, at 8 in the morning, speeding past a school on Novato's most dangerous stretch of highway. I hope he loses his job, and his license and spends some time in prison. Those of you who told me to "show some compassion" when I simply said this is a shame, tell it to the jury. Update: http://www.marinij.com/novato/ci_22125010/chp-ross-valley-fire-captain-novato-wreck-was

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