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February 19, 2013
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2 men in critical condition after Hwy 49 wreck

Two men remain in critical condition after a two-car collision on Highway 49 Sunday evening.

Phillip Cazares, 66, of Grass Valley, was driving his 1985 Corvette southbound on Highway 49 near Streeter Road when he suddenly made a left turn across the highway at about 6:50 p.m., according to witnesses.

Joseph Mortara, 71, of Penn Valley, was driving a 2013 Ford F-150 northbound and broadsided the Corvette, witnesses told California Highway Patrol officers. Both vehicles went off the road with the Corvette landing in a drainage ditch and the pickup striking an embankment.

Cazares and his passenger, Jerome Nelson, 38, of Auburn, were trapped inside the Corvette, and fire department personnel had to extricate them using the Jaws of Life. Cazares sustained major head injuries and internal injuries, and Nelson reportedly sustained severe internal injuries. They both were flown by helicopter to Sutter Roseville Medical Center, where they are listed in critical condition.

Mortara and his passenger, Dianna Mortara, 68, both complained of pain but refused to be transported by ambulance. Both vehicles had to be towed from the scene.

At this time, drugs or alcohol are not considered to be factors in the accident, according to the CHP report.

Personnel from Higgins Fire Protection District, Calfire, Sierra Nevada and AMR ambulances all responded to the scene of the accident; the northbound No. 2 lane of the highway was closed for about an hour. Caltrans also responded to the scene to repair damaged signs and inspect the road.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email lkellar@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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The Union Updated Feb 19, 2013 08:04AM Published Feb 19, 2013 03:59PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.