Business owner dies in accident |

Business owner dies in accident

William Ferchland
Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune South Lake Tahoe emergency personnel work to remove the victim of a single- vehicle accident Tuesday in the parking lot of Hoss Hoggs.

A man died after his Dodge Ram truck sideswiped two vehicles, barreled through Lake Tahoe Boulevard and smashed into a tree a few feet from Hoss Hoggs restaurant.

Firefighters tried to extricate John Jeffrey Chavarria, a 54-year-old from South Lake Tahoe, from the truck, which rested on its driver side and was surrounded by onlookers Tuesday afternoon.

Witnesses and authorities suspect Chavarria suffered from a medical condition, making him lose control of the truck which had A-1 Glass Service stenciled on the sides and rear. The business, which Chavarria owned, was family operated since the 1960s.

At 1:56 p.m., Chavarria was traveling down Sierra Boulevard when his truck sideswiped two vehicles stopped on Sierra at the Lake Tahoe Boulevard intersection, authorities said. The truck scraped the left side of the idling cars and drove through a red light, somehow missing highway traffic, authorities said.

Chavarria’s truck sped through the parking lot of Hoss Hoggs restaurant and struck a tree to the right of the building. The crash crumpled the truck’s right front and sheared a chunk of bark from the tree.

Witness Dale Martin finished eating at Hoss Hoggs and was in the parking lot when the crash occurred. Martin, who lives in Canada but visited Tahoe for a military reunion, rushed to the truck, looked through the windshield and saw Chavarria bleeding heavily but breathing.

Dale’s wife, Marion, said Chavarria was laying back in his seat like he was unconscious before the accident.

She guessed his speed at 30 to 40 mph.

“It happened so fast because it was going so fast then we heard this tremendous crash,” she said.

Hillary Fenton was across the street at the Swiss Village when she heard glass breaking.

“When we got here his arm was hanging down and we thought he was dead,” she said.

Paramedics got inside the truck’s cabin and attached an intravenous line to Chavarria. A tow truck was called to attach cords to the bottom of the truck to tilt it so firefighters could pull him out.

Further resuscitation attempts were made but Chavarria could not be revived.

El Dorado County sheriff’s coroner Pete Van Arnum said an autopsy will reveal whether a medical condition or the accident caused Chavarria’s death.

– E-mail William Ferchland at

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