Luther Pass crash victim identified |

Luther Pass crash victim identified

A 19-year-old woman involved in a fatal crash Thursday night near Luther Pass apparently fell asleep at the wheel, according to California Highway Patrol investigators.

Melanie Whorley, of Citrus Heights, Calif., left Gardnerville around 8:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving day and was headed home to the Sacramento area. Whorley was driving north on State Route 89 and descending Luther Pass when she drifted to the right shoulder. CHP investigators said it appeared that Whorley awoke and swerved back to the left, across both traffic lanes, and off onto the west shoulder. The vehicle was airborne and landed 30 feet down an embankment, striking some large boulders near the bottom.

The vehicle was not visible from the highway and was not discovered until Friday afternoon when a family looking for a place to sled stopped near the accident site. CHP investigators said Whorley was “still clinging to life” when emergency personnel arrived, but died enroute to Washoe Medical Center.

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