It seems that vehicle accidents have been on the increase over the past few weeks. Coso Junction, along U.S. Highway 395, especially continues to prove to be a dangerous place for vehicles. Here is yet another one that occurred on Sunday, October 18th, which resulted in a fatality.
The following information comes from the California Highway Patrol – Bishop Office Report of Collision – News Release (copy at end of this posting): (Note: SWM used minor editing to clarify narrative and readability).
(V-1), a 2015 Toyota Highlander SUV, was traveling southbound on US-395 and turned left onto Gill Station Coso Road to go towards the rest area and service station.
(V-2), a 2017 Hyundai Elantra sedan, was traveling northbound on US-395, approaching Gill Station Coso Road at approximately 70 MPH.
The Toyota SUV came to a stop at the stop sign at the intersection with the northbound lanes of US-395. The driver of the Toyota observed the Hyundai sedan traveling northbound but, believing that the intersection was a 4-way stop, pulled forward into the path of the Hyundai.
The oncoming driver in the Hyundai swerved to try and avoid a collision, but the front of the Hyundai struck the Toyota on the right side, causing it to overturn. Both vehicles sustained major damage and came to a rest just east of the northbound lanes of US-395 at Gill Station Coso Road.
The Toyota SUV contained the driver and five additional passengers. The Hyundai sedan contained the driver and one passenger.
All parties were assisted at the scene by bystanders which included several physicians.
Two medevac helicopters were requested, and LA County Sheriff’s helicopter Air Rescue 5 and CHP helicopter H-40 responded.
Three parties were subsequently transported by Olancha Fire and Lone Pine ambulances to Southern Inyo Hospital.
Four parties were transported by Liberty Ambulance to Ridgecrest Hospital and one passenger was transported by CHP helicopter H-40 to Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield.
Ground paramedics intended to rendezvous with Air Rescue 5, but the helicopter was canceled when the patient’s condition worsened, and she had to be taken to the closest hospital.
One party from the Toyota SUV (V-1) succumbed to their injuries and was later pronounced deceased at the hospital.
This collision is under investigation by Bishop Area CHP.
Sierra Wave News will provide more information when it becomes available. Considering the number and severity of accidents at Coso Junction recently, especially involving injuries and fatalities, it would seem that the authorities need to do a study to find out more about why this is happening and take measures to mitigate it happening.