Mid-day crash on highway | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Mid-day crash on highway

Gregory Crofton

Two people suffered minor injuries in a three-car accident Tuesday afternoon at Lodi Avenue and U.S. Highway 50.

The chain-reaction crash started at 12:15 p.m. when a red Saturn headed east on Highway 50 veered into the westbound lane to avoid rear-ending a car stopped in traffic.

“Rather than rear-ending that vehicle, he veered into center lane, then went past the center and hit the Mercedes,” said South Lake Tahoe Police Officer Scott Heng.

The Saturn, driven by Neil Ogden, 20, of Chicago collided with a white Mercedes driven by Darlene Head, 46, of South Lake Tahoe. She was going west when her car went head-on into the passenger side of the Saturn.

The collision also pushed the Mercedes into a westbound van, which received minor damage. The Mercedes and Saturn were totaled and had to be towed from the scene.

Head was treated at Barton Memorial Hospital for a possible broken nose. The woman in the passenger seat of the Saturn, Jessica Hunter, 19, of Chicago, was pinned in the vehicle before firefighters cut open her door. She was taken to Barton where she was treated and released.

The driver of the van, 50-year-old Nancy Valenzuela of South Lake Tahoe, said she couldn’t avoid the accident.

“She swerved into my car,” Valenzuela said. “I saw her coming; I turned as fast as I could. She came into my lane. It just happened too fast to do anything.”

Heng said no one was cited but the investigation is ongoing. Emergency workers had the scene clear in 30 minutes.

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