Woman charged after car accident
A South Lake Tahoe woman was charged Tuesday with suspicion of driving while intoxicated and causing great bodily injury to four teen-agers when her pickup slid out of control on U.S. Highway 50.
Chris Pipkin Kengla, 48, was arrested at her residence and booked into the El Dorado County Jail. Her bail was set at $10,000.
The Feb. 17 accident sent one South Lake Tahoe teen-ager to Barton Memorial Hospital with internal injuries. Police investigators said Kengla was traveling west on U.S. Highway 50 near Carson Avenue around 9 p.m. She was weaving in and out of traffic when she lost control of her 1980 Chevrolet pickup and slid into the eastbound lane. Police said a witness estimated Kengla’s speed at 55 mph.
Another driver, Joshua Zion, 16, was unable to avoid the pickup.
Zion’s 1983 Chrysler New Yorker hit the truck’s bed head-on. According to court records, Kengla’s blood alcohol level at the time of the accident was .09. The legal limit in California is .08.
Zion suffered facial and chest injuries, his passenger Seth McGrath, 17, suffered cuts to his face, a lacerated liver and colon, and his gall bladder was later removed due to damage caused by the impact.
Zion’s two other passengers, Christina Peterson, 16, and Amber Kraw, 15, were believed to have only suffered minor injuries at first, but further tests revealed that Kraw also had broken her back. McGrath said Kraw is now in a body cast.
McGrath, who spent six days in the hospital and is still recovering from his injuries, said officers told him that if he hadn’t been wearing his seatbelt it is likely he would not have survived the accident.
“Before we found out she (Kengla) was above the legal limit we weren’t angry about the accident because these things can happen,” McGrath said. “When we found out she was above the limit, tensions rose and we were angry. She basically turned our lives around. We want justice. We want her to realize what she’s done because it could happen again.”
McGrath has been on disability since the accident and hopes to get medical clearance to return to work next week.
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