Trina Kleist
Staff Writer

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August 19, 2011
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Accidents: Hwy 49 wreck sends Grass Valley woman to hospital


A Grass Valley woman is in serious condition after hitting another vehicle head-on Friday morning in Placer County; meanwhile, police are searching for a third driver believed to have caused the wreck.

It was one of several wrecks in the area.

Sandy Castle, 60, was listed in critical condition early Friday afternoon at Sutter Roseville Medical Center, but her condition was upgraded to serious later in the afternoon, hospital spokeswoman Liz Madison said.

Castle was flown by REACH medical helicopter to the hospital; she had suffered major injuries, the California Highway Patrol reported.

Police are searching for the driver of a white Acura Integra they believe may have caused the accident, CHP Officer David Martinez said. He described the driver as a white man about 20 years old.

The driver of the Acura was westbound on Lone Star Road, just south of the Bear River bridge, at about 9:50 a.m. Friday when he pulled out in front of traffic to make a left turn heading south onto Highway 49, Martinez said.

"Several cars had to take evasive actions" to avoid the Acura, Martinez said.

One of those drivers was Castle, driving a 2001 black Ford F-150 truck south on Highway 49. Castle swerved to the left, crossed the center line and hit a blue 2005 Honda Odyssey that was northbound in the pocket left-turn lane, about to turn onto Lone Star, Martinez said.

The driver side of Castle's truck hit the Honda, driven by Edmund Moley, 76, Martinez said.

Meanwhile, the driver of the white Acura sped away, heading south, Martinez said.

One lane of traffic in each direction was closed while Castle and the driver of the Honda were transported - Moley by AMR Ambulance - to Sutter Roseville, Martinez said. Both had major injuries, he added.

One of the vehicles appeared to be leaking fluid after the accident, but it was unclear what the substance is.

Shortly after the wreck, emergency dispatchers called for the help of Animal Control to put down a dog inside one of the vehicles.

The intersection does not have a signal.

Traffic was snarled for hours in the area of Brunswick, Idaho-Maryland and Bennett roads in Grass Valley. The section of Idaho-Maryland Road from Sutton Way to Brunswick Road will remain closed indefinitely while telephone cables, linked to three wrecks near the intersection, are repaired.

No one was injured in any of the accidents, Grass Valley Police Officer Clint Bates said.

At about 10:12 a.m. Friday, a Hansen Bros. Enterprises truck pulling an open trailer made a left turn from northbound Brunswick Road heading west onto Idaho-Maryland Road. The trailer hit a telephone pole on Idaho-Maryland and turned over, breaking the pole and causing the fiber optic cables to hang across both Idaho-Maryland and Brunswick, Bates said.

The trailer was empty, Bates added.

A woman driving a white Acura SUV south on Brunswick noticed the truck on Idaho-Maryland, looking in that direction for just a moment. When she looked back, "she had a telephone cable hanging in front of her," Bates said.

The cable struck her windshield and hood, and her vehicle had to be towed, Bates said.

Police rerouted northbound Brunswick Road traffic to Whispering Pines Road, snarling traffic in the business park.

Due to road safety issues, police also closed Brunswick from Bubbling Wells to Whispering Pines; and they closed Idaho-Maryland from Brunswick to Banner Lava Cap, due to the lack of space for vehicles to turn around at the bottom of Idaho-Maryland.

Traffic backed up along East Bennett Street as motorists, heading up Whispering Pines and thinking they could turn left onto Brunswick, instead were obliged to turn right, Bates said.

Repair and flagging crews from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. quickly reported to the scene, and a crew from a telephone utility also was called out, Bates added. (The utility crew continued to work at the scene all day Friday and is expected to return today until repairs are made, Bates said.)

While police and flaggers were directing traffic, another wreck occurred between 11 and 11:30 a.m.

A white SUV northbound on Brunswick was slowing for traffic control when it was rear-ended by a small sedan, Bates said.

While Bates and other officers were busy with the Brunswick brouhaha, three vehicles were involved in a crash In front of the new Starbucks Coffee Co. store on Freeman Lane in Grass Valley. No injuries were reported.

At about 11:15 a.m., a driver in a Toyota truck was trying to exit the parking lot by making a right turn onto Freeman Lane. A woman in a Saturn sedan was stopped on Freeman Lane, waiting for the truck to leave so she could make a right turn into the same parking lot, Bates said.

A third driver in a Ford Explorer, apparently not seeing the Saturn had stopped, hit the sedan, shoving it part-way under the truck, Bates said.

The Ford and the Saturn were towed. A 4-year-old girl in the Saturn's back seat was "properly restrained in a car seat" and was unharmed, Bates said.

"So that was our morning, in a nutshell. All three of us," Bates said, referring to the number of officers on duty in Grass Valley at the time.

Though the Starbucks has been open just a short time, the volume of customers at the new location appears to be much larger than at the smaller store the chain previously occupied across Freeman Lane, customers have said.

Traffic jams already have been reported at the parking lot entrance-exit on Freeman lane.

A man was airlifted to a hospital after rolling his utility ATV 60 feet to 80 feet off of Lavezzola road in Downieville, the CHP reported. No more information was available.

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Staff Writer Liz Kellar and Staff Photographer John Hart contributed to this report. To contact Senior Staff Writer Trina Kleist, e-mail tkleist@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.


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The Union Updated Aug 19, 2011 10:32PM Published Aug 19, 2011 10:29PM Copyright 2011 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.