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Singing Johnny hurt in motorcycle crash: Community offers help

The beloved handyman of Sutter County who is famous for singing beautiful tunes was recently injured in a serious motorcycle accident. The 73-year-old man, John Dowden, has been called "Singing Johnny" for over five decades -- and virtually everyone knows him in Sutter County.

One Sutter resident mentioned that if you asked Singing Johnny to sing, he'd cheerfully break out into a song. The jubilant elderly man is known for washing windows for a small amount of money around town in addition to volunteering for cleaning projects.

Tragically, Singing Johnny -- who a local resident who knows him says was "always helpful, always willing to give a hand out if you need it" -- suffered injuries in a freak motorcycle accident. As it happened, a deceased pig was either in the road or close to the road as Johnny was riding his bicycle along Pass Road. Vultures were feasting on the carcass of the pig as Johnny approached. One of the vultures was taking off as Johnny drove by, and it hit him.

The 73-year-old man was ejected from his motorcycle and came to rest in a ditch. Emergency responders transported Johnny to Sutter Roseville Medical Center by helicopter and family members have been tending to him throughout the week. Doctors expect him to receive trauma care for at least two weeks, and then he will be transferred to rehabilitation.

Community members have banded together to support Johnny financially. Fundraisers are already being planned to raise money that will help pay for his hospital bills. Friends of Johnny can visit the Singing Johnny Facebook page to receive updates on his condition.

Whenever a vehicle accident happens related to debris on the road -- be it a deceased animal or a piece of trash -- questions may arise regarding who might be liable for the crash. How long was the debris on the road? Was the city negligent in failing to clear up the debris? Depending on the answers to these questions, injured crash victims might have valid claims to pursue financial damages in court.

Source:, "Sutter County community helps 'Singing Johnny' after freak motorcycle crash," Dana Griffin, Aug. 26, 2017

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