Three-vehicle wreck leaves eight injured

Photos by Barbara Gardner

This afternoon (Friday) at about 1pm, three vehicles collided south of Lone Pine in an area called Lone Willow Dip by the Owens Dry Lake.  The California Highway Patrol had some information.  Officer Dennis Cleland said that a limousine and two pick-up trucks were involved. Cleland reported that the driver of the limo was at fault and had hit a pick-up head on.  The other pick-up side-swiped one of the wrecked vehicles, he said.

Officer Cleland said there were multiple injuries and that parties in the limousine were not wearing seat belts.  He said this led to major injuries. The officer said that eight victims were transported to Southern Inyo Hospital – 4 with major injuries, 1 with moderate injuries and the rest with minor injuries.  Some were expected to be transported to other medical facilities. The accident remains under investigation by the CHP.

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19 Responses to Three-vehicle wreck leaves eight injured

  1. Wayne Deja November 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    I was heading to Ridgecrest at the time of this accident…When the road opened to traffic,and seen two of the vehicles involved,it’s a wonder there weren’t multiple fatalities….MAJOR impact between the mini-truck and the Limo.What was amazing is about 3 miles South of the wreck,I was passed in the 55 zone by some SUV going at least 75…with the driver talking on the cell-phone.

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    • Jen November 26, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

      :( That was my dad that was hit head on. I haven’t been able to locate a pic of his truck yet and am just thankful he’s alive.

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      • chrissy December 4, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

        Jen me and my husband and son are the ones that where also involved. I have been wonderibg how the poor man was that was hit. It was your father? How is he. He has been in my thoughts. I wish we could know what the man was doing in the limo to cause this bad accident. Im still trying to deal with this. Its been really hard. I have photos of all the vehicles involved if you want them.

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      • chrissy December 5, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

        How is he doing. We have really been concerned about him.

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  2. Big Rick OB November 9, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    No passing zone, people in a hurry to get to Mammoth, driver pressured by passengers, illegal lane change over a double yellow, NO seat belts (nobody wears seat belts in a limo), probably drinking = recipe for disaster. It is totally unbelievable that no one went to the morgue.

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  3. salblaster November 10, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    I know that stretch of highway at willow dip, theres a short passing lane coming out of cartago that ends in a blind corner to the north, probably the worst stretch of two lane highway in the owens valley. I guess when caltrans builds the bypass highway around olancha they’ll complete the four lane and 395 will be four lane freeway thru inyo co. to mammoth. the four lane highway is so much easier and safer to drive but i still see skid marks on straight wide sections of highway where people have spun out or drove right off the highway, it baffle’s me how they can’t stay on the road.

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  4. SanDiegoHighwayman November 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    1 word — FOCUS! — it’s what TOO many drivers DON’T do these days — yakkin — surfin — textin ??

    it’s hard to figure how that limo driver survived? from th eextent of the damage visible —

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    • Big Rick OB November 11, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

      AIRBAG !

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  5. Big AL November 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    This section called “Willow Dip” is part of the Olancha-Cartego by pass. A lot of people traveling northbound know that the short passing lane is coming up, so some take full advantage of it to pass as many vehicles as they can. Even though, they also know, that within 1 mile the four lane begins.

    This passing lane is 2 miles north of Cartego, it is 6 tenths of a mile long, it doesn’t end in a blind curve. It is a bad stretch, because of the impatient and distracted motorist traveling the highway. A four lane will end the head on accidents, that is for sure, and you’re right, we still see .. even on perfectly straight sections of road, where people have jacked it with their own doing. Head on collisions usually involve a high number of injuries and fatalities compared to run offs.

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  6. Eastern Sierra Local November 11, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    More proof that Caltrans needs to hurry up and build the 4-Lane project ASAP!

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    • frustrated November 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

      Please communicate that to BLM…they are delaying the project by not allowing Caltrans to do the ‘standard’ environmental studies that are required to get through the environmental process…they need to realize that just because they can throw their weight around like an 800lb gorilla, it doesn’t make it right. History shows, people’s lives are at stake…. remember the Sherman family? The project to convert that stretch of road (Fish Springs area) was delayed due to environmental delays also (but not due to BLM). It should have been four lanes by the time the Shermans were killed.

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  7. salblaster November 11, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    big al. the stretch of road that i was thinking about that ends in a blind corner isn’t the four lane passing lane that goes up the north hill of willow dip, but the stretch of highway north of cartago and south of willow dip where theres a passing zone, broken white line, a pass with care area where you can drive into oncoming trafficc to pass, which ends in a blind corner to the left. from the pictures this looks like that spot just south of willow dip.

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    • Big AL November 11, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

      OK I gotcha, what you were referring to, you’re right this is in the area just south of Willow Dip. It appeared to be exiting the passing lane section to the north, as the center line is double yellow barrier.

      In the area you area you are referring to, as you leave Cartego you round a right hand curve, there is no passing either direction until you exit that curve. southbound passing ends about 600 ft. north of this curve. Northbound passing begins about 600 ft. south of the next curve, the left hand curve you are referring to. Another 600 feet or so, the southbound passing begins at the beginning of that left hand curve, which is a right hand curve for southbound vehicles.

      From that point, to the passing lane section the center line is double yellow barrier (no passing either direction).

      I think .. what happens in this area is the impatient drivers making bad passes, which by the way are in a no passing zone. The passing was taken out in the area previous to this area (from the Ranch house curve to this section in question) This was because of the same sort of actions such as this incident, bad passing by impatient drivers.
      In order to try to curtail the amount of accidents due to bad passing moves, the area was made no passing while this relives accidents in this area, it can cause more pressure from impatient drivers who are frustrated with the slower pace of traffic compared to theirs. If they can not make the passing of the slower traffic in the one remaining passing area before the passing lane in Willow dip, then they resort to making a bad (illegal) pass, and this usually is in this area, where they can see better,
      (The spot where this accident occured).

      But the sight distance is not sufficient, as there is the loss of sight distance due to the highway entering the dip.

      This phenomenon surprisingly, happens with southbound traffic as well, leaving the passing lane area and trying to pass one or a few vehicles before the curve in question.

      So many accidents and tragedies can be avoided just with a little care and patience.

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      • Big AL November 12, 2012 at 10:29 am #

        I screwed that narration up:

        It should be ..
        As you leave Cartego you round a right hand curve, there is no passing either direction until you exit that curve. southbound passing ends about 600 ft. north of this curve. Northbound passing begins about 2700ft. south of the next curve, the left hand curve you are referring to. At about 600ft. or so, in advance of this left hand curve northbound passing ends. At about another 1100ft.southbound passing begins at the beginning of that left hand curve, which is a right hand curve for southbound vehicles.

        From that point, to the passing lane section the center line is double yellow barrier (no passing either direction).

        You can go to google earth and check this.

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    • Pat November 12, 2012 at 10:45 am #

      Shoul be double yellow all the way!

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  8. Stp November 13, 2012 at 8:07 am #

    That area is very bad. I drive a tanker loaded with fuel and get passed there all the time I can’t see cars coming so I know they can’t. Having two speed limits for cars and trucks is unsafe also take a ride in a truck and see what it’s like out hear. It’s crazy!!!!!

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  9. Steve November 13, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    For the injured the Olancha Cartago by pass did not happen fast enough. Instead they get to be part of a long list of injured and killed from this stretch of road.

    I am thinking we quit calling it a “by pass” and start calling it a “business loop” for the travelers that want to stop in Olancha and Cartago. The travelers that don’t can stay on a fast moving 4 lane away from town.

    Some times the wording can make the difference, by pass sounds like we are being left behind. A business loop sounds like opportunity.

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    • Mark November 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

      Steve I like your idea of calling it a business loop. Good positive twist for sure!

      on another note: Roads don’t kill people, unsafe drivers kill people. Four lanes didn’t help with the accident South of Bishop.

      Trucker STP is right, the different speed limit for trucks and trailers probably causes more accidents then it prevents. Especially on two lane highways.

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  10. Jen November 26, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    My dad was the one in the truck that was hit head on. A phone call I will never forget. He’s still in the hospital in Reno. Every time I drive this stretch of 395 I am paranoid of morons passing in the double yellow as I see it all the time. This has been a huge fear of mine since family moved to that area from San Diego many years ago. I hate visiting up there because of it. :(

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