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Failed RV brakes cause multiple vehicle wreck

A motorhome with failing brakes barreled down Highway 41 in Oakhurst on Monday before it collided with the former Sportsman’s Den at Golden Oak Loop, after severely damaging two vehicles and grazing a third.

Around 11 a.m., the Southwind motorhome, driven by Karl Johnson-Hanson of San Jose, emitted a loud screeching noise as it gained speed down Highway 41 before it careened off the road.

“That’s when he ended up grazing a van that was parked there,” investigating California Highway Patrol officer Shane Fox said. “We checked the brakes on the motorhome and the pedal went down to the floor. That’s a bad sign. It’s suspected there was something wrong with the brakes.”

The RV grazed the van for minor damage, Fox said, before it slammed into a parked 2013 Honda Civic with nobody inside. Then, using built-up momentum, the motorhome pushed the Civic into a parked 2015 Ford Mustang rented by Sarah and Simon Young who were inside the car, as well as the Civic through the Sportsman’s Den window.

No injuries were reported in the crash.

“That was so scary,” said Sarah Young, visiting America from England with her husband. “I was talking to my daughter on the phone when (Simon) started saying ‘oh my God’ and we saw it coming. We’re just lucky we didn’t get hurt.”

Fox said the motorhome slammed into the side of the Civic and caused damage to the building. Before it was towed by Sierra Mountain Towing and Recovery, the vehicle was hanging over a low brick wall on the building’s south side, with rubble surrounding the area.

Chris Roberts of Oakhurst, who parked the Civic, said he was inside a nearby shop for “less than a minute” before the RV slammed into the vehicle.

“I’m grateful I wasn’t standing next to the car when he lost control and made contact,” Roberts said. “Slow down people!”

Major damage was caused to every vehicle but the van, which was also owned by Oakhurst residents.

If a driver finds themselves in a similar situation with failed brakes, Fox recommended the motorist downshift their vehicle, then attempt to use their parking brake to slow down.

Fox said no alcohol or drugs were involved in the wreck.

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