Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Deja vu II

A jazz musician was injured Friday after jumping from a burning motor home driven by a one-time roller skating stripper from Lodi.

Francis Courtney, 60, a guitarist and singer for Stockton-based "Cradle of Sound," leaped from the motor home on the Highway 99 overpass at Peltier Road shortly before noon.
Francis Courtney is taken away by a San Joaquin County medic after he jumped from a moving 1979 Commander RV on Friday afternoon at the Highway 99 overpass at Peltier Road in Woodbridge. (Brian Feulner/News-Sentinel)

In the process, the 1979 motor home's brakes failed and the driver, Anthony "Tony" Luccketta, 49, had to stop the vehicle by crashing into a fence.

Courtney, whose band opened for BB King on New Year's Eve in Stockton, was taken by ambulance to Lodi Memorial Hospital with minor injuries, said California Highway Patrol Officer Roberto Iniguez.

Luccketta, who is still known for his roller skating stripper gig but now focuses on playing music, was not injured. There was no sign of alcohol involvement, Iniguez said, and the Coors Light beer can on the motorhome's dashboard appeared to be a decoration.

Hours earlier, Iniguez had tagged the motor home parked on the southbound side of the freeway, planning to return and tow it if it hadn't been moved.

The motor home had also been noticed by Angie Coberly, who lives in a cream-colored house just south of the overpass. Her attached garage was demolished last August when a man lost control of the big rig he was driving, veered off the freeway, hit a power pole and landed in her garage.

On Friday, Coberly happened to be outside in the sunshine when she saw the motor home heading east on the overpass. She saw the door "flapping" open and dialed 911 when she saw a figure leap out of the moving vehicle.

"And then I saw a huge bonfire in the middle of it," she said of the motor home.

The fire didn't spread and Luccketta escaped unharmed, making his way back to the overpass where his friend lay on the road.

Courtney's fiancee, Linda Wilcox of Modesto, had been following in her Dodge van and stopped on the overpass. Courtney was unconscious at one point, the shaken woman said, but he was later able to talk to paramedics as they placed him in an ambulance.

Coberly was still watching the commotion when a tow truck came to haul the 24-foot motor home from the scene. It was driven by the same man who had pulled the big rig from her garage six months earlier.

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