11 injured in Echo pileup
A collision on U.S. Highway 50 about a mile west of Sierra-at-Tahoe involving at least three cars sent 11 people to Barton Memorial Hospital Thursday.
Capt. Joe McAvoy of the Lake Valley Fire District said one of the passengers involved in the accident required immediate medical transport due to chest pains. The severity of his injuries is unknown. None of the other injuries were serious.
“Altogether there are 11 injuries. Basically it is just complaints of pain. It is all minor injuries from what I have been told,” said California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Gwaltney.
The accident occurred at about 10:55 a.m. Daniel Ramas, 33, of Phoenix was traveling west on Highway 50 in a newer model Ford Explorer. According to the CHP, Ramas’ vehicle went into the eastbound lane and collided head-on with a 1991 Nissan Pathfinder driven by Lisa Maloff, 72, of Zephyr Cove. A 1997 GMC Sierra traveling westbound behind Ramas slid into the Explorer, spun around and hit the Pathfinder. The Sierra was driven by Brady Heidenrich, 35, of Glendora, Calif. The ages of the persons involved may be inaccurate, as the only age information available from the CHP was the years of their births.
Gwaltney stressed that the cause of the accident is still under investigation. He said the weather may have played a role in the accident. There was a steady wet snow falling over Echo Summit at the time of the crash.
“I don’t believe (the snow) was sticking, but the roadway surface was wet,” Gwaltney said. “We shut down traffic (going over Echo Summit) to alleviate any further problems. Our primary concern is the safety for both the victims and the rescue personnel.”
Gwaltney said there were number of accidents on Sierra roads Thursday. With the bulk of the storm expected to hit today, he warned that weekend travelers should use caution.
“Slow down. Bottom line. Leave a lot of extra room between you and the vehicle ahead. Basically drive heads-up and if you need chains, get chains. If you don’t have adequate treads wait for the road to clear.”
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After a period of dry, warm weather, winter returns this week to Lake Tahoe.