Two accidents on Highway 395 just north of Independence on Friday claimed the life of one man and sent other injured people to local hospitals.
Information on the accident scene Friday evening indicated that the initial wreck involved a one-car rollover which left a man dead, the passenger in the car.
A CHP report confirmed that the driver of a Subaru headed north had hit the northbound shoulder, lost control, and overturned six times. 88 year old Howard Gammell of Los Angeles was killed. The driver, 65 year old Susanne Fink of Pacific Palisades received major injuries and was taken to Southern Inyo hospital and flown out to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. The CHP also said that the use of alcohol was suspected and the collision remains under investigation.
The Coroner’s office said that Mr. Gammell was apparently enroute to Mammoth Lakes to go skiing with members of the 80 plus ski club. The man had no known relatives but did have an executor in Mammoth Lakes and “a lot of other contacts in Mammoth”, according to the Coroner.
Independence Volunteer fire and ambulance crews responded to the accident scene on Friday. Traffic was slowed and then stopped in the area. At that point, a car approaching the accident scene did not stop and rear-ended a car waiting in line.
The extent of the injured was not immediately known, but it was reported that some from that accident were taken to a local hospital.
A pet dog belonging to someone in the second accident had run into the desert, huddling fearfully near a fence. Members of the Independence Fire Department were able to get the dog on a leash and lead him safely to a pick-up and then to a home of one of the firefighters.