Ross Valley Firefighter Injured in Novato Wreck

A 46-year-old Novato man was towing a boat and failed to negotiate a curve in a Novato road near where a high school student was killed in a 2010 crash.


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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