A deadly weekend on Interstate 80 | SierraSun.com
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A deadly weekend on Interstate 80

Staff reports

Three motorists died in two accidents on Interstate 80 west of Truckee Sunday.

The first accident occurred at 11:35 a.m. Sunday, when, for unknown reasons, a 1996 Chevy Blazer and a 2003 Ford Taurus hit each other while travelling side-by-side on westbound 80 near Blue Canyon.

The Blazer lost control, and hit a tree-covered embankment, ejecting passenger Diana Pehrson, 40 of Elk Grove, killing her, according to the California Highway Patrol. Driver Todd Perisich, 48 of Sacramento, suffered moderate injuries.

The Taurus reportedly veered right and launched off the side of the highway into a grove of trees, hitting a tree head-on and overturning. It landed upside down and caught fire. Passenger Karen Allen, 39 of Fair Oaks, was killed in the crash. The force of crash ejected driver Kermit Allen, 67 of Fair Oaks, causing major injuries. Passenger Kimmie Allen, 67 of Fair Oaks, also suffered major injuries.

Motorists in both vehicles were airlifted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

Truckee resident Sylvia Horne, who was driving to the Bay Area, at the time, said bikers travelling west following the Street Vibrations rally in Reno stopped to provide aid and help extinguish the fire that spread from the overturned Taurus to the trees.

“Within minutes there must have been 100 of them,” she said. “We helped them with water from our RV. They had the best relay system going.

“They were stopping truckers and asking for their fire extinguishers. They did a good job.”

The westbound lanes of the freeway were closed for one hour to facilitate emergency crews. Although the accident is still under investigation, alcohol is not believed to have contributed.

In a separate accident at 7:25 p.m. west of Cisco Grove on westbound 80, a weaving motorcyclist reportedly lost control around a left-hand turn and drifted onto the right shoulder, striking an embankment.

Arturo Avila, 43 of Ceres, Calif., was pronounced dead at the scene. Alcohol is believed to have contributed to the accident.


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