Highway 50 accident victim reportedly alive, westbound traffic now moving | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Highway 50 accident victim reportedly alive, westbound traffic now moving

William Ferchland, Dan Thrift

Highway 50 traffic is now moving in the westbound lane after rescuers successfully airlifted the driver of a vehicle that plunged nearly 600 feet into a canyon off of Echo Summit this morning.

The female driver is reportedly alive, according to a Lake Valley Fire Protection District firefighter on the scene. The westbound lane of Highway 50 had been closed since about 11:15 a.m. after the vehicle plunged off Echo Summit at around 11 a.m. this morning.

The rescue effort was done with two helicopters. The first helicopter lifted the victim from the crash site at about 12:30 p.m. and met a second helicopter which will take her to a hospital. The name and condition of the victim are unknown.

Firefighters told the Tahoe Daily Tribune the silver Toyota RAV4 plunged about 595 feet. At least two people witnessed the accident from a vantage point across from the summit on South Upper Truckee Road.

“Boy, it was breaking apart the entire time down, it was a terrible thing,” said David Case, a South Upper Truckee Road resident who called 911 after seeing the accident.

“It sounded like it was an avalanche,” said witness Jim Copel, also of South Upper Truckee Road. He had been working on cabinets outside when heard the sound of the car rolling down the cliff.

“It was one big boom after another,” he said, guessing that he watched the car plunge for about five seconds.

California Highway Patrol dispatch and police dispatch received at least two calls reporting that a gray vehicle “flew off” the highway. One witness reportedly saw the accident from her Egret Way home east of Echo Summit.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.