Two die in Highway 50 crashes |

Two die in Highway 50 crashes

William Ferchland
Phillip L. Sublett / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Rescue personnel from the U.S. Forest Service tend to some victims of a multi-vehicle accident Sunday afternoon on Highway 50 east of Silver Fork. The accident closed the highway for over an hour in both directions.

A 51-year-old South Lake Tahoe man was one of two people killed in two different weekend accidents along Highway 50 near Kyburz, authorities reported.

Roland Horst Westbrook of South Lake Tahoe was driving a 1992 Chevy Camaro on Saturday morning when the vehicle drifted onto the right shoulder of Highway 50 and he overcorrected, turning the muscle car toward a tree, California Highway Patrol office Sean Ricci said.

The impact sliced the front end of the car in half and ejected Westbrook, who died when he hit a different tree, Ricci said. Westbrook was not wearing a seat belt.

The estimated speed of the Camaro was 65 mph, Ricci said. The accident happened west of Silver Fork around 8 a.m. “His car is absolutely destroyed,” Ricci said.

An accident Sunday afternoon around 3:30 caused by a popped left front tire closed the highway east of Silver Fork, snarling weekend traffic, authorities and witnesses said.

Carl Jochoms, a 57-year-old from Vacaville, was driving westbound when the tire blew on his 2000 Ford truck, causing it to sideswipe a 2003 Toyota Camry and run directly into a 1996 Honda Civic, Ricci said.

The driver of the Civic, 56-year-old Melissa Stevenson of Merced, died at the scene, Ricci said.

Jochoms was uninjured, but two passengers in the truck, including a 6-year-old girl, were taken to a hospital with moderate injuries, Ricci said.

The Camry driver, 63-year-old Joann Allyn of Napa, also received hospital care for moderate injuries, Ricci said. All motorists involved were wearing seat belts.

“It looks like from two witness accounts that he did have a tire failure,” Said Ricci, who estimated Jochoms’ speed at 45 mph.

Around the same time of the Sunday accident, California Highway Patrol officers were responding to a possible-fatal accident in Latrobe, Ricci said.

“It was just one of those odd weekends where the awful statistics happen,” he said.

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