A view of Highway 299 in the Weaverville area.
A man who went missing in the Trinity County mountains three months ago has been found dead after apparently going off the road barely 30 miles into his trip, the California Highway Patrol said.
John Bartholomew, 56, had not been seen since he drove away from Salyer in the early hours of January 14. He was reportedly on his way to Sacramento, a 250-mile drive.
A missing persons report dated Jan. 20 said a car matching the description of the one he was driving — a silver 2005 Honda Accord — was seen on video taken from Highway 299 in the Weaverville area at 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 14 was, but it’s license plate was unreadable.
Search and rescue teams drove and flew the mountainous corridor of Highway 299 with no sightings.
It’s likely Bartholomew never made it to Weaverville. At approximately 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 14, the CHP was notified of the wreckage of a Honda Accord along the Trinity River below Highway 299 between Big Bar and Big Flat, 20 miles west of Weaverville. The license plate matched that of the car Bartholomew was driving, which had been reported stolen in Trinity County.
The Honda was parked at the river’s edge, 100 feet below the freeway on its south side. The car had evidently veered off the eastbound lane and gone down the steep, rocky slope; It overturned and came to rest on its roof in the water, the CHP said.
The driver was trapped inside and died from injuries sustained in the accident, the accident report said. He hadn’t been wearing a seat belt.
The wreck was not visible until it was uncovered when the river level dropped.
The Trinity County coroner confirmed the dead man was Bartholomew, who according to the accident report had lived in Redding. The missing person’s report said he was from Antelope, Sacramento County.