South Lake Tahoe man killed in Highway 50 rollover
Tribune staff writer
A rollover accident along Highway 50 involving two South Lake Tahoe residents killed the passenger and critically injured the 18-year-old driver.
Sean Richard Takahashi died from his injuries in the Monday night single-vehicle crash, which occurred near Bass Lake Road in El Dorado Hills, said Craig Beckley, information officer for the California Highway Patrol.
He was 22.
The driver, Alexander McKenzie Craig, also known as Kenny, was taken to Sutter-Roseville Medical Center by CalStar helicopter for severe injuries.
The two were traveling westbound along the highway when, for an unknown reason, Craig’s 1995 Jeep CJ5 drifted from the fast lane toward the center divide, Beckley said.
The left rear tire struck the metal guardrail, causing it to flip numerous times at 11 p.m., Beckley said. It rested on its top in the westbound slow lane.
Jim O’Camb, battalion chief at El Dorado Hills Fire Department, said the two friends were pinned to the ground by the Jeep’s roll bars.
Takahashi died and the roll bars trapped Craig’s head to the ground. His breathing was shallow, O’Camb said.
“He was totally unconscious and pinned and yet when they got him out and fully immobilized they were actually talking to him which was just amazing from the amount of trauma he took to his head,” O’Camb said.
A CalStar helicopter arrived 35 minutes later to transport Craig to the Roseville hospital. The crash, at the top of Bass Lake Grade, blocked both lanes of westbound traffic for two hours.
Authorities drew Craig’s blood to determine if alcohol was a factor. Results were not ready by press time.
“He would go out on a limb for you,” said Takahashi’s friend, Kristen Tylenda. “He would always help you if he could. He was so audacious.”
Kevin Leonard said Takahashi pushed him to finish high school and was his father figure.
“He was my guardian angel,” Leonard said.
The two were with Takahashi’s family at Meadow Lane. They wept for their friends, one lost and the other hospitalized.
Lori Takahashi-Rogers, Sean’s mother, remained quiet. She said her son often checked in with her, telling her where he was and where he was going.
They believe the two were going to see Takahashi’s girlfriend in Sacramento.
Terry Takahashi described her nephew as a gifted dancer. He once won a break dancing award at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, she said.
Since a fatality was involved, the investigation will take longer than usual, Beckley said.
O’Camb said five paramedics were at the scene. A pair of high-powered lifts was used to remove Takahashi and Craig.
“It was a bad accident,” O’Camb said. “It doesn’t get much worse than that.”
– E-mail William Ferchland at email@example.com.