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Douglas lived life on the edge

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Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012 2:00 pm | Updated: 5:52 pm, Fri Dec 28, 2012.

Carl Douglas was a risk-taker who never ran from a challenge, built a multi-million company from scratch and loved to fly airplanes. But he lost his life when those traits collided during a snowstorm in the middle of the night at 4,200 feet. 

Douglas, 54, was pronounced dead Thursday afternoon after local authorities discovered the wreckage of his turbo-prop airplane high atop Swede Mountain southeast of Libby. John Smith, 43, a passenger in the plane also died in the crash. 

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          • Discuss

          Welcome to the discussion.


          • Bay Bridge Worker posted at 11:54 pm on Sun, Dec 23, 2012.

            Bay Bridge Worker Posts: 1

            This article contains an error that needs to be corrected. The reference to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge experiencing "an explosion that caused two levels of the bridge to collapse in 2009" is incorrect. There has never in the 76 year history of the bridge been an explosion on the bridge.

            In 2009 as part of the construction of the new Bay Bridge between Oakland and Yerba Buena Island, the old bridge was shut down over the long Labor Day weekend and an elevated detour was installed by contractor C.C. Myers of Ranch Cordova, Ca. During that installation, a routine inspection of the bridge roughly 1/2 a mile away by Caltrans maintenance workers revealed a cracked bridge member called an "eye bar".

            Caltrans (California Dept of Transportation) commissioned C.C. Myers to engineer an emergency temporary replacement piece and Carl was contacted by C.C. Myers to build the replacement part at the Stinger AZ shop. It was then airlifted to the Oakland airport by charter aircraft and then ground transported by units of the California Highway Patrol under Code 3 escort to the bridge an installed under emergency conditions.

            The work by Carl's Stinger Welding and C. C. Myers to repair the damaged component resulted in the bridge re-opening only some 2 hours later then the original detour plan called for. Installing the planned detour and then responding successfully to the emergency eye bar repair made national news on all of the major media networks.

            Some two years earlier on April 21, 2007 a tanker truck transporting gasoline overturned and erupted in flames causing major structural damage to an elevated portion of the 580 freeway. The location of this gasoline fed fire was some 1-1/2 miles from the bay bridge. Caltrans let an emergency repair contract won by C.C. Myers of Ranch Cordova, California. Carl Douglas, hearing of the incident through media reports contacted C.C. Myers and a deal was struck to construct the steel replacement spans. Carl's Stinger AZ crew manufactured replacements spans in record time. The spans were given Highway Patrol code 3 escorts upon crossing into California. When the steel spans were placed they fit perfectly. Carl along with Clint Myers himself were recognized for completing an extraordinary engineering challenge in record time by then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

            I knew Carl when he owned a dump truck and a laundry mat. He turned both into profitable businesses. I watched him persevere and grow into a professional construction manager for Ball, Ball and Brosamer during the days of the Central Arizona Canal construction as well as the major paving projects in the Phoenix area, California, Utah and Denver International Airport. Carl was a nice guy, a good friend and was always willing to help someone along the way. And when the chips were down, Carl always, somehow delivered. It was very difficult to hear news of his plane crash last Thursday.

            Carl is one who left his mark in many places and among many people across the American west. We could use a lot more like him. Those of us who knew Carl from his early years to present day will never forget what he did to each of us that touched our lives forever.

          • DC posted at 2:01 pm on Sun, Dec 23, 2012.

            DC Posts: 2

            I'm glad the Western News covered this in at least a semi positive light, They haven't always been so kind to him. Carl was a great guy and he did have a big heart and treated me and everyone else I know who also knew him well. He is and will be missed.



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