Crash Kills 65-Year-Old Man
A 38-year-old Nevada City woman led Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies and the California Highway Patrol on a brief chase Saturday, before evading officers and slamming into a pickup, killing a 65-year-old Penn Valley man.
Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal said Sunday his department will consider asking the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office to file assault with a deadly weapon charges after Elizabeth Hughes dodged officers during a mid-morning pursuit, which ended at the intersection of Rough and Ready Highway and Highway 20 and killed Ned Taylor.
According to Royal and the California Highway Patrol, Hughes was westbound and weaving on Rough and Ready Highway just before 11 a.m., when Deputy Mike Jewell began following her.
Jewell, who was attempting to make a routine traffic stop, followed Hughes to the intersection of Highway 20 and Rough and Ready Highway, where Hughes made a U-turn and retreated up the hill. Jewell pulled alongside the vehicle, which had stopped at a driveway on Rough and Ready Highway, and walked to Hughes’ vehicle.
At the same time, witnesses Dave and Amy Slaughter of Nevada City also stopped to help identify Hughes, who had passed the Slaughters earlier.
Royal said Hughes saw Jewell walk up to her Ford Escort ZX2 and drove off, nearly striking Jewell, who said he put his hands on the hood and the windshield to brace himself. Hughes struck the Slaughters’ vehicle as she drove away, Royal said.
Hughes proceeded westbound toward Highway 20. When Jewell approached the intersection, he saw her car flipped over on the south side of Highway 20 in a gully.
Hughes was airlifted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center, where a nursing supervisor said she was in critical condition.
Hughes apparently ran off Rough and Ready Highway onto the road’s shoulder at the intersection of Highway 20, where her car became airborne, clipping a vehicle driven by 68-year-old Ernest Zaste of Pittsburg, who was westbound on Highway 20, and landing on the roof of Ed Taylor’s westbound Chevrolet pickup.
Taylor was pronounced dead at the scene, according to authorities.
The crash tied up traffic in both directions on Highway 20 and both sides of Penn Valley Drive and Rough and Ready Highway. Numerous cans of spray paint, paintbrushes, a plastic gas can and glue were strewn over the freeway.
The top of Taylor’s truck was sheared off by the impact of the crash.
Dave Slaughter, whose wife, Amy, was injured when Hughes clipped the side of their vehicle as it was stopped on Rough and Ready Highway, said he feared for his life.
“This woman had a blank look on her face like she didn’t care about anything,” he said.
Jewell said he barely had time to react when Hughes drove off after he stopped her.
“It all happened so fast, I don’t think I had time to be scared,” he said.
Royal said the pursuit had ended after Jewell attempted to make the traffic stop and nearly got run over.
“I don’t think anyone ever expected to see such a tragic accident,” Royal said.
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