Just after dark Monday night, the wrenching of metal and a fiery crash split the quiet with a violent three-car collision south of Bishop near Collins Road. Last night, the CHP said six had died. Many others were injured.
The scene on Highway 395 was cluttered with fire trucks, ambulances, CHP officers, Sheriff’s Deputies, Bishop Police and the coroner. CHP officer Dennis Cleland said Monday night that the driver of an SUV southbound on 395 had apparently lost control, veered off onto the right shoulder then back onto the highway rolling over into the northbound lane where the car struck a white van and burst into flames.
Three people in the SUV were killed. Two, at last word, survived. Apparently, three also died in the van. That van and two others were carrying students from Cal Baptist University from Riverside, all headed north.
A third car crashed into the mangled wreckage of the first two vehicles. Reports on scene said that the woman driving the car was homeless and living in her Subaru.
Fire trucks and ambulances had rushed to the scene from Bishop, Big Pine, Mammoth Lakes, Independence and Lone Pine. Ambulance crews worked feverishly to extricate victims, rushing them to Northern Inyo Hospital.
The complex scene caused closure of that section of 395. Officers re-routed traffic up Collins Road and back out on 395. At around 11:30pm, a large Penske rental truck using the detour careened off the side of Gerkin Road and turned over, spilling a huge mountain of belongings. At last word, emergency crews worked to extricate two people from that vehicle.
CHP officers said that the highway closure may last awhile and that their MAIT (Major Accident Investigation Team) team might come up to handle the accident investigation.