Collision claims life |

Collision claims life

Traveling south on Highway 49 Friday afternoon, Diane Fragall of North San Juan watched as four cars in front of her collided in a fatal instant.

The crash at Old Downieville Highway near Nevada City left a female driver dead and sent three others to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital with minor to moderate injuries.

“It’s pretty horrific when you see someone under that kind of trauma,” Fragall said at the scene. “It was not a pleasant sight.”

California Highway Patrol officer Randy Corbett said the names of those involved in the accident had not been released Friday night.

He said the northbound driver of a black Jeep Grand Cherokee drifted over the center line, striking the southbound Fiesta “headlight to headlight.” The force of the collision sent both vehicles spinning.

Fragall said the Jeep spun into a southbound gray Chevrolet Malibu being driven by a man. She said a woman driving the Jeep, a 5-year-old passenger in the Jeep and the Malibu driver were all taken to the hospital by ambulance.

The collision threw the Fiesta driver almost completely out of the car, Fragall said. “It all happened in about three seconds.”

A fourth vehicle being driven by a North San Juan man hit the back of the Jeep, but that driver was not injured, Corbett said. “They were apparently all wearing seat belts.”

The Fiesta ended up on the east shoulder of the road with the front end smashed into the front seat. The Jeep sat in the middle of the road, its front left front wheel bent up under the engine.

The Malibu was left overturned in a ditch on the west shoulder.

The accident closed the highway for two hours and remained under investigation late Friday.

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