On Thursday, Dec.7, two vehicle collisions, one ending in a fatality and another requiring the Jaws of Life, brought traffic to a standstill on both highways 41 and 49.
Around 3 p.m., on Highway 41 at Hummingbird Lane, three women from Coarsegold collided with another vehicle, resulting in a tragic fatality.
Summer Kieffer, 38, was traveling southbound on Highway 41 when Linda Sue Murphy, 70, traveling northbound with passenger Billie Williams, 90, made an unsafe left turn. Unable to stop her car in time, Kieffer slammed into the passenger side of Murphy’s vehicle at 50 mph.
CHP, Cal Fire, Cal Trans and Sierra Ambulance were called to the scene.
Murphy’s passenger, Williams, sustained life threatening injuries and succumbed to them after being transported to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno via helicopter.
Murphy sustained serious injuries and was transported by ambulance.
The other driver, Kieffer, sustained minor injuries and declined medical care.
Highway 41 traffic was at a standstill for 35 minutes as both lanes were closed. The roadway reopened once the injured could be transported and the vehicles removed.
An hour before the fatal accident on Highway 41, traffic came to a halt on Highway 49.
Around 2 p.m. on Highway 49 at Harmony Lane, a car rolled over into on-coming traffic striking another vehicle.
Stephen Esau, 40, from Modesto and his passenger David Stevenson, 23, from Santa Maria were traveling northbound when Esau began to drift off the road. Esau began a repetitive sequence of over correcting until his car began rolling. As the car took flight, driver Dena Didrickson, 24, and passenger Mike Weber, 54, approached from the on-coming lane. In-flight Esau car hit the roof of Didrickson’s vehicle.
CHP, Cal Fire, Cal Trans and Sierra Ambulance responded to the scene.
Once the car came to rest Esau’s passenger, Stevenson, was trapped inside. Firefighters used the Jaws of Life to extract him. Stevenson was airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.
Esau sustained minor injuries and was transported by ambulance to Mariposa’s John C. Fremont Hospital.
Miraculously, Didrickson suffered no injuries and her passenger Weber only suffered minor ones. He declined medical attention.
Both collisions remain under investigation.