2011 deadly year on Douglas highways | TahoeDailyTribune.com

2011 deadly year on Douglas highways

by Kurt Hildebrand

GARDNERVILLE, Nev. – A dozen people died on Douglas County highways during 2011, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol.

The number of crashes shot upward 300 percent compared to 2010 when only three people died on the county’s highways. 2011 saw the largest number of highway deaths in at least the last seven years.

Accidents occurred all over the county, but most were on Highway 395 between Johnson Lane and Holbrook Junction.

There was one accident each involving a motorcyclist, a bicyclist and a pedestrian. Four of the fatalities were related to alcohol. There were no accidents with multiple fatalities during the course of the year.

The Nevada Highway Patrol investigates accidents that occur on state highways.

Among those killed during 2011 are:

• Gardnerville artist Reiko Hervin died Nov. 30 as a result of injuries received in a traffic accident at Highway 208 and Jack Wright Summit. Gardnerville resident Jon E. McElhaney, 34, faces charges of driving under the influence and causing substantial bodily harm in the accident.

• Joan Marie Hamrick, 60, of Valley Springs, Calif., died after being struck by a vehicle on Highway 50 in Stateline on July 30. David Ray Stephenson, 35, from Discovery Bay, Calif., was arrested for felony driving under the influence.

• Gardnerville handyman Terry Lyn Elmer, 46, was killed in a three-vehicle accident in the Pine Nuts on July 27.

• Mound House resident Jeffrey Gray, 41, was killed at Highway 395 and Airport Road in a two-car accident on July 18.

• Felix Vargas, 10, was killed on July 14 when the Ford Explorer he was riding in rolled over on top of him along Highway 395 north of Airport Road.

• Craig Ducar, 42, died July 13 when his motorcycle was hit by another vehicle at Highway 88 and Centerville Lane.

• Kody Wilson, 16, died July 5 after colliding with a Nevada Department of Transportation truck with his bicycle eight days before on Highway 395 near Southgate.

• Matthew Autre, 30, killed June 20 when he pulled out onto Highway 395 from Virginia Ranch Road into the path of an oncoming pickup.

• Howard Coles Hand, 73, killed June 8 when he drifted across the double-yellow line into the path of an oncoming semi-truck on Highway 395 south of Palomino Lane in Ruhenstroth.

• Emilio Vargas-Gonzales, 26, killed May 22 when he lost control of the 1998 Dodge Durango he was driving northbound on Highway 395 near Courtland Lane.

• Dan Steven Navone, 56, killed April 26 when he lost control of his Chevrolet Tahoe and went off Foothill Road.

Douglas was not alone is seeing a serious increase in highway fatalities after a long decrease.

Highway patrol figures show that 11 people died on Lyon County highways, an increase from five in 2010.

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