1 dead, 4 injured after crash
A heart attack could have caused the driver of a Dodge minivan to careen into a tree near Camp Richardson on Highway 89, killing the driver and sending four family members to the hospital.
Luther Edward Treadway, a 66-year-old from Ward, Ark., was dead at the scene. Initial radio traffic stated a heart attack might have caused Treadway to drive into a tree, but authorities were not ready to confirm until an autopsy is completed.
“At this point it’s speculation,” said El Dorado County sheriff’s Coroner Larry Olsen.
“For unknown reasons he allowed his vehicle to veer to the right and (strike) a very large pine tree,” said California Highway Patrol Sgt. Betsy Legg.
“He has a medical history that’s going to be investigated and should be determined in the autopsy.”
The Tuesday accident at 2:30 p.m. closed the road – the only artery connecting South Lake Tahoe to a series of beaches, Emerald Bay and the West Shore – for 90 minutes as emergency personnel from multiple agencies surrounded the scene and cared for the injured clan from Arkansas.
Two transport helicopters were summoned, CALSTAR and Care Flight, which both flew patients to Washoe Medical Center in Reno. CALSTAR took the most serious injured woman, landing at Highway 89 for the pick up while Careflight transported another woman from Barton Memorial Hospital.
Legg said a 13-year-old was taken to Barton along with a 1-year-old who had a cut on the forehead.
Only the toddler, in an approved child seat, was restrained in the minivan, Legg said.
Rebecca Stange Jeff Munson 7/18/06 cq on namesaid she was three cars behind the white Dodge Grand Caravan when the accident occurred.
“I remember it literally went straight then boom, hit the tree,” Stange, 27, said.
The minivan was being followed by a red car holding two family members.
Stange said she called 911 and tried to help calm nerves and sit people down.
“Somebody was yelling for grandpa,” she said. “Somebody was yelling for help ….”
One fire fighter reported the woman passenger might have had a broken ankle and possible fractured hip. A 13-year-old girl who was placed into an ambulance shrieked while being laid on a board and had a brace wrapped around her right leg.
At one point it seemed as if paramedics were in short supply. Lake Valley Fire Protection District personnel worked shoulder-to-shoulder with members of the South Lake Tahoe Fire Department. Both California Highway Patrol officers, El Dorado County sheriff’s deputies and police officers helped control the scene.
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