Two Reno teenagers killed in rollover wreck near Lake Tahoe | SierraSun.com

Two Reno teenagers killed in rollover wreck near Lake Tahoe

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Excessive speed played a factor in a single-vehicle crash that killed two Reno teenagers Friday night on Highway 267 between Lake Tahoe and Truckee, officials said.

According to a Monday morning statement from the California Highway Patrol, a 15-year-old male from Reno was illegally driving a 1995 Jeep Cherokee northbound on 267, north of the Northstar California intersection near Martis Valley, at about 8:30 p.m. Friday, with three male passengers inside, all of Reno.

For unknown reasons, he "made an unsafe turning movement, causing the vehicle to drive off the east road edge and overturn an unknown number of times, coming to rest in the dirt and grass field along the eastern side of the road."

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the CHP-Truckee office.

The three passengers were initially trapped inside. One occupant, 16, exited the vehicle and was later transferred by ground ambulance to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno with major injuries.

Emergency crews were able to extricate the other passengers, both of whom were air-lifted by CareFlight to Renown with major injuries.

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One passenger, 16, later died from his injuries, according to CHP. The other, also 16, remained in Renown's Intensive Care Unit as of Monday morning. An update on his condition was not immediately known.

"Alcohol and drugs are not suspected to be a factor in this collision," officials said.

Speed is, however, CHP-Truckee Public Information Officer Pete Mann said later Monday.

"I just talked to the investigating officer, (and) he said speed is a contributing factor to the collision," Mann wrote in an email to the Sierra Sun. "As for a speed estimate, that is not something we release, (as) it is only placed in the (final investigation) report. I can tell you they were at a high rate of speed at the time of the collision."

All four teenagers were wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash, according to CHP.

The driver, being only 15 years old, was operating the vehicle illegally since he did not have a license or permit, Mann said in a later interview.

"Even if he had a permit, he still would have been driving illegally, as there wasn't a parent in the car," he said.

Officials from CHP-Truckee and the Truckee, Northstar, North Tahoe and North Lake Tahoe fire protection districts responded. The incident remains under investigation.