Driver in deer-caused crash on Highway 20 remains in intensive care
A woman swerving to avoid a deer Monday night on Highway 20, causing a three-vehicle collision, remained in intensive care Tuesday.
Carren Daigle, 69, of Grass Valley, was driving a Ford F-150 at approximately 5:45 p.m. westbound on Highway 20 approaching Pleasant Valley Road when a deer appeared in the roadway ahead of her and she swerved unsafely toward the left, said California Highway Patrol spokesman Greg Tassone.
Daigle struck and killed the deer and the pickup continued out of control into the oncoming (eastbound) traffic lane, hitting a Lexus IS250 sedan head-on in the eastbound lane being driven by Allan Berman, 72, of Penn Valley.
The Lexus spun out of control in the lane and onto the shoulder, where it was struck by a Ford Focus sedan that had been traveling eastbound behind the Lexus, being driven by Norman Beckert, of Penn Valley. All vehicles were then disabled, blocking the highway, Tassone said.
A CHP officer was patrolling the Penn Valley area and arrived at the scene in approximately two minutes, and the highway was closed because it was blocked by vehicles and debris.
Caltrans and deputies from the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office responded to assist with traffic control; traffic was diverted through Penn Valley for the duration of the incident.
Several occupants had to be extricated from their vehicles by Penn Valley firefighters. Daigle sustained major injuries, including compound fractures, and was flown to Mercy San Juan Hospital after the flight was diverted from Sutter Roseville Medical Center.
She remains in critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday afternoon.
Berman and his passenger, Janice Berman, 66, were transported to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital via ground ambulance with moderate injuries and were not listed as having been admitted as of Tuesday. Beckert declined transport to a hospital and appears to have received only minor injuries.
CHP is handling the investigation, and drugs or alcohol do not appear to be a factor in the collision. The highway was closed for approximately 90 minutes while emergency crews worked at the scene and the traffic detour was in effect.
Tassone urged drivers not to swerve to avoid animals or other objects in the roadway, saying, “The safest reaction to an unexpected traffic hazard in your lane is to maintain your lane and perform smooth, straight-line braking, even if it means you may hit the object or animal.”
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.
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