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4 men killed in fiery Granite Bay crash are identified

December 16th, 2022

Officials have identified the four people who died Wednesday evening after a vehicle crashed and caught fire in the Granite Bay area of Placer County.

The Placer County Sheriff's Office on Thursday said the three passengers in the car were all from Granite Bay.

They are Patrick Gainer, 65; Paul Hammack, 53; and Karan Pannu, 45.

The driver was identified as Jerry Cepel, 61, of Roseville.

The crash was reported around 9:20 p.m. at East Roseville Parkway and Brackenbury Way, the California Highway Patrol Auburn division said. The four people were inside the vehicle that hit a tree and caught fire. KCRA 3 has learned the vehicle is a Mercedes CLS registered out of Roseville.

David Martinez, a spokesperson for the CHP Auburn division, said the car was speeding well above the posted speed limit on East Roseville Parkway. According to a witness, the car then veered out of the lane onto the shoulder, when it collided with a tree near Brackenbury Way.

Several people heard the crash, including Neil Roszkowski who lives nearby.

"It wasn't a normal sound, just a very, very loud thud," he said.

When he ran to the intersection, he said the car was engulfed in flames.

"The flames were probably 25-35 feet high," Roszkowski said. "I've never seen anything like it in my entire life."

Trevor Santa Cruz was also near the intersection when he heard a big boom. He also ran to help. He said one man was already there using a fire extinguisher.

"I ran to the gym to get a fire extinguisher that still didn't help," he said.

Santa Cruz said they tried to open the doors but the flames were too intense.

"We were banging on the back of the trunk to see if anyone was moving in there. No one was moving, nothing," he said.

He also said looking at the scene in daylight, he realizes there was nothing they could have done to save the men.

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Millions Recovered for Auto Accident Victims

Drake Law Firm is an award-winning law firm that focuses exclusively on personal injury law. 

Backed by a team of attorneys, paralegals, and support staff with over 100 years of combined experience, we have excelled in fighting for auto accident victims, and have recovered more than $150 million in compensation for our clients.

Drake Law Firm: Provide Auto Accident Results

Founded by Attorney Benjamin Drake, Drake Law Firm has secured notable verdicts and settlements in motor vehicle accident cases across the state of California. 

Our recent auto accident results:

  • $2.5 million: driver T-boned in an intersection accident
  • $735,000 recovery: motorist side swiped by negligent driver
  • $1 million: victim of rear-end accident
  • $2.65 million: pedestrian hit by vehicle
  • $1.23 million: motorcycle rider struck by vehicle

We fight for the maximum compensation possible. To discuss your potential auto accident lawsuit and how much it may be worth, contact us to speak with a personal injury lawyer.

We Handle All Types of Auto Accidents

Drake Law Firm represents victims who suffer losses in all types of motor vehicle accidents. Whatever your accident may involve, Drake Law Firm has the experience you need. We can help with:

  • Drunk driving accidents
  • Ride-share accidents (Uber / Lyft)
  • Crashes caused by negligent or distracted drivers
  • Multi-vehicle accidents, rear-end collisions, and intersection accidents
  • Pedestrian, bicyclist, and motorcycle wrecks
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM / UIM) claims
  • Passenger injuries, including public transit and bus accidents
  • Auto defects and product liability claims
  • Construction or worksite auto accidents
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