San Andreas, CA – Several people sustained serious injuries in separate accidents along three Mother Lode highways on Monday during the afternoon commuting hours.
According to California Highway Patrol (CHP) San Andreas Unit, just after 4 p.m. five West Point teens were traveling east on Highway 26, east of Sandy Gulch Road in a 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. CHP reports that, for unknown reasons, the driver, a 17-year-old female, drifted into the westbound lane then over-corrected and lost control, after which, the right front of the vehicle hit a large tree at a speed of approximately 55 miles-per-hour.
CHP states that both the driver and front right passenger were using lap and shoulder harnesses; although the driver received minor injuries, those of the front passenger, a 16-year-old female, were major. The three male teens riding in the back seat were not wearing seat belts. Of these, 18-year-old Billy Raferty and a 16-year-old male also suffered major injuries; the third male, a 17-year-old, received minor injuries. Two passengers were transported by air ambulance; one by ground ambulance to various hospitals. Family members subsequently drove the fourth passenger and driver to local hospitals. CHP states that while the incident remains under investigation, officers do not currently believe that alcohol and/or drugs are a factor.
Highway 49 Crash Causes Back Ups Near San Andreas Airport
Around the same time Monday, along Highway 49, near Carol Kennedy Drive in San Andreas, an accident caused by a driver who hit a utility pole, tied traffic up for almost two hours, as responding units tended to the victim and PG&E dealt with resulting downed wires on the roadway. According to CHP Officer Bill Estakhri, the driver, 52-year-old Joseph Sullivan, of Soulsbyville, was headed northbound, driving a 1995 Dodge Ram pickup truck at approximately 50 miles-per-hour when he inexplicably drifted into the oncoming lane. The truck then continued over the shoulder, hit the power pole, shearing it off, and came to an abrupt halt after striking a concrete support bridge wall under the highway, north of Union Mine Road. Sullivan, who suffered head trauma, was airlifted to Doctors Hospital in Modesto, according to the CHP report.
Estakhri estimates that the highway was closed for 20-30 minutes until PG&E determined that the downed lines were not live. One-way traffic controls, which remained in place for over an hour, contributed to what several motorists called significant delays as they phoned in to Clarke Broadcasting for information.
At press time, CHP did not yet have a report available pertaining to a third accident with injuries that occurred in the 4 o’clock hour involving two vehicles, south of Arnold on Highway 4 at Lakemont Drive.