One dead, four hurt in accidents |

One dead, four hurt in accidents

Two traffic accidents in the past week left one person dead and three hospitalized, authorities said.

Reckless driving and a domestic dispute may have been the cause of a fatal car accident Sunday night, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Reuben G. Njika of Oakland, 29, was killed when he lost control of his car on Interstate 80 westbound west of Donner Lake Road Interchange, struck a guardrail and plummeted down a steep embankment.

According to the CHP accident report, Njika’s vehicle landed on its roof, leaving Njika and his passenger, Tabitha W. Karanja, trapped inside the vehicle. Karanja, 22, also of Oakland, suffered moderate to major, non life-threatening injuries.

Both Donner Summit Fire Department and Truckee Fire Protection District personnel responded to the scene and stabilized the vehicle. Extrication was required to remove both occupants. Njika was pronounced dead at the scene.

“This was a very difficult task due to the instability of the vehicle on a very steep, bouldered slope,” said DSFD personnel. “Patients and equipment were belayed by rope down approximately 75 feet to the eastbound lane staging.”

CHP Officer Dennis Dugger said that several witnesses indicated that Njika’s vehicle was traveling at a “very high rate of speed” and making aggressive lane changes.

The accident is still under investigation, and though the actual cause has not yet been determined, Dugger said both parties were fighting in the vehicle at the time of the accident, and Njika may have been drinking alcohol.

Accident on Highway 89

Authorities are still investigating an accident which critically injured an 11-month-old boy at 10:02 a.m. Tuesday on Highway 89 near Alder Creek Road.

A Subaru Legacy driven by a 23-year-old woman, and occupied by the 11-month-old boy and a 3-year-old girl, was pushed off the roadway by a collision with a pickup truck, and the car rolled down the embankment at the northeast corner of Prosser Lakeview and Highway 89.

“It wound up about 20 feet below the road, and took out a big pine tree,” Chief Mike Terwilliger of the Truckee Fire Protection District said. He said firefighters had to cut the roof off the car in order to extricate the woman and the girl.

The woman and the boy were airlifted by CareFlight to Washoe Medical Center, where the woman was treated and released. The 3-year-old girl was initially taken to Tahoe Forest Hospital by ambulance, then later transported to Washoe Medical Center for further evaluation. Hospital spokesman John Wheeler said the boy was in critical condition Wednesday, and the girl was in satisfactory condition.

The driver of the truck said he had no injuries and declined treatment at the scene.

Highway 89 was closed just north of Truckee for two hours following the accident.

Capt. Gary Jacobson of Nevada County Sheriff’s Office said deputies are still investigating the accident, with assistance from the California Highway Patrol. The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Crisis Intervention Officer is currently working with the family of the injured.

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