EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated as of March 27, 2015, with the following information:
Below is a portion of a statement from Garhett Miller, who at the time this article was published was unavailable for comment because of his post accident medical condition: “This accident was a great tragedy not only for myself but for the Patrick family as well.”
Further, after reviewing evidence from the accident, the Placer County District Attorney declined to bring charges against Mr. Miller, according to court documents provided to the Sierra Sun.
The original story is below:
TRUCKEE, Calif. — Two people were transported to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno after they suffered major injuries in a head-on vehicle crash early Monday evening between Tahoe City and Truckee.
According to the California Highway Patrol, Garhett Miller, 30, of Las Vegas, was driving a 2003 Toyota Tacoma southbound on Highway 89 near Goose Meadows (about 5 miles south of Truckee) at about 6:45 p.m. Monday when his vehicle crossed into the northbound lane, colliding head-on with a 2001 Volkswagen van driven by Jill Patrick, 50, of Reno.
The Volkswagen quickly became engulfed in flames, according to CHP, with Patrick still inside. An unidentified passing motorist was able to pull Patrick from the van and pull her to safety, according to the highway patrol.
Fearing the safety of Miller, who was still inside the Tacoma, two additional motorists placed a tow chain on the truck and pulled it away from the still-burning Volkswagen, according to CHP.
Upon arrival, Truckee Fire Protection District paramedics removed Miller, who was eventually transported to Renown via CareFlight helicopter, according to the highway patrol, and was treated for major injuries.
Patrick also suffered major injuries and was transported by ambulance to Renown.
According to the initial investigation, it appears Miller and Patrick were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, said CHP Public Information Officer Tony Prisco.
It's unclear what caused Miller's car to cross into the northbound lane, he said, although officers will likely rule out driving under the influence.
“At this point there is no reason to believe alcohol played a role in this incident,” Prisco said.