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The Madera Tribune

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Black ice causes wrecks in Sierras

Car crashes were the theme of the mountain area Friday morning, as at least seven wrecks were reported by 8:30 a.m. at or near areas of Coarsegold, Oakhurst, and Ahwahnee related to black ice on the roadway.


On Road 222 near Dorstan Drive, calls came in at 7:50 a.m. of a car that had rolled over. First response crews found an 18-year-old woman hanging by her seatbelt in her white 1999 Toyota Corolla that had flipped and crashed the rear of its roof into a tree.


California Highway Patrol Officer Chris Lutz said the Ahwahnee woman, traveling by herself, was late for work on her way to Oakhurst when she lost control on the frozen asphalt.


“She stepped on her brakes, and that caused the car to lose traction once it hit the ice,” Lutz said. “Just inexperience, and inappropriate turning with the car caused it to roll into a tree.”


No drugs or alcohol were suspected as factors in the crash, he said.


The woman was taken to St. Agnes Medical Center of Fresno with complaints of pain, Lutz said. Her name was not provided. He said the crash could serve as a warning for all drivers when conditions get icy on mountain roads following a major storm.


“If you’re coming off the hill, they’re being saturated because they’re bleeding water from the storms,” Lutz said. “So the water comes across the roadway, freezes up, and creates very hazardous driving conditions.


“I mean, look at this car,” Lutz said, pointing to the crashed vehicle. “If it had hit only six more feet to the front, that would have made a huge difference in what happened here this morning.”


Lutz advised all drivers to greatly lower their speed on icy roads, as it’s the best way to remain safe.
Elsewhere in the mountain area, wrecks became almost commonplace Friday morning.


Two crashes were reported on Highway 41 at Serpa Canyon Road, on Konklin Road, at Road 425C, and Old Corral Road, as well as Hilltop Lane on State Route 49. In at least one of the wrecks on Serpa Canyon Road, a vehicle was pulled from a creek after it rolled down an embankment.

For more mountain news, visit the Sierra Star.

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