Grass Valley woman ID’d as victim in fatal Highway 20 collision |

Grass Valley woman ID’d as victim in fatal Highway 20 collision

A 71-year-old woman was killed in a two-vehicle collision Tuesday night on Highway 20, the latest in a series of fatal collisions on that highway this year.

A passenger in one of the vehicles, identified as Eve Karoblis-Mabe, 71, of Grass Valley, died in the collision, said Nevada County Chief Deputy Coroner Mike Sullivan.

The accident, which reportedly occurred when one driver became distracted and veered into the opposite lane, left her husband, Edward Mabe, 71, also of Grass Valley, seriously injured.

Rick Laffey, 50, of Grass Valley, was driving a 1998 Honda Civic eastbound west of Chalk Bluff Road, and Edward Mabe was driving a 1994 GMC Sierra westbound at 6:52 p.m. Tuesday, according to the California Highway Patrol. Laffey reportedly looked away from the road by reaching for something in his car and drove across the double yellow lines into the westbound lane, directly into Edward Mabe’s path.

The front of the Honda hit the front of the GMC, which flipped at least once. The Honda continued to travel east until it coasted to a stop, the CHP said.

Edward Mabe sustained major injuries and was taken by helicopter to Sutter Roseville Medical Center. He was in fair condition as of Thursday afternoon, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

According to Sullivan, the cause of death has been ruled blunt force injuries due to the motor vehicle crash.

Laffey was uninjured.

Alcohol and/or drugs have been determined to not be a factor in the collision, and the investigation is still ongoing by the California Highway Patrol.

Highway 20 east of Nevada City has seen four collisions ending in fatalities this year, noted CHP Officer Mike Steele:

On Jan. 27, a solo-vehicle wreck on Highway 20 just east of Willow Valley Road killed Dominic Giuliani, 20, of Nevada City, and Dawson Turiello, 19, of Grass Valley.

On Jan. 31, a crash involving a tow truck and a fuel tanker near Bowman Lake Road killed both drivers, John Drew, 49, of Reno, and John Cox, 61, of Grass Valley.

Robert J. Johnson, 46, of Nevada City, and Robert M. Johnson, 67, of Marysville, were killed in a solo accident on Feb. 5 east of Pine Needle Way.

The Grass Valley CHP has been working on a strategic plan to address the concerns on Highway 20 regarding safer driving practices, Steele said.

“We are starting to look at the analytics of these collisions to see if there is something we can do,” he said. “The time of day, the position of the sun, the weather, the speeds — anything that might stand out as a common thread.”

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

This version was edited from the original version on July 6 due to inaccurate information provided to The Union. Previous information had Rick Laffey’s name spelled incorrectly.

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