Three hospitalized in Highway 49 crash today |

Three hospitalized in Highway 49 crash today

A tire rolling in the middle of Highway 49 caused a two-car crash that sent three people to the hospital this afternoon.

Shortly before the crash, a left rear tire reportedly fell off a southbound pickup near Christian Life Way around 12:30 p.m. The tire rolled into the path of a large northbound pickup truck, which veered across the center line to avoid it, said Nevada County Consolidated Fire Chief Tim Fike.

The northbound pickup, which was towing a pontoon boat, struck a southbound silver Mercedes coupe head-on, Fike said. The collision left the boat, truck and car mangled on the west side of the road.

One man in the truck was flown to the Sutter Roseville Medical Center with critical back injuries. The other truck passenger was taken by ambulance to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital with head injuries, Fike said.

The driver of the Mercedes, a woman, was trapped in the car and conscious for an hour as rescue crews tried to free her, Fike said.

The woman suffered leg and arm fractures. She too was taken to Sutter Roseville, where she was in critical condition, Fike said.

Fike described the rescue effort as extraordinarily difficult.

The crash backed up traffic on both directions of Highway 49 for several miles.

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