Pedestrians injured by rotary snow plow |

Pedestrians injured by rotary snow plow

Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun file photoA Caltrans rotary plow similar to this one ran over two pedestrians on Highway 89 at Squaw Valley on Jan. 5.

Two Kings Beach residents have been released from the hospital after they were struck by a Caltrans snow-removal vehicle at the entrance to Squaw Valley a week ago Saturday at the height of a blizzard.

According to a California Highway Patrol report, Miguel Paz and Luciana Reinoso were hitchhiking just south of the intersection of Squaw Valley Road and Highway 89 around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 5, when a rotary snow plow ran over the 19-year-old pedestrians.

As the vehicle drew near, the hitchhikers moved to the right of the roadway, but ran out of space between the snow berm and the approaching plow. They attempted to run forward to avoid being hit, but slipped on the ice and fell beneath the moving vehicle’s tires, CHP Officer Steve Skeen said by phone Tuesday.

Luckily for them, the operator had raised the plow’s blades 11 inches as he started a U-turn.

Squaw Valley Fire Department officials responded to the report, and found both victims had been struck by the underside of the vehicle, suffering moderate lacerations to their heads, Skeen said.

They were transported to Renown Medical Center in Reno, and were later released, he said.

According to the report, the Caltrans vehicle had been blowing snow along southbound Highway 89 and ran over the pedestrians while making a U-turn. The snowy conditions coupled with the dark apparel worn by both Paz and Reinoso contributed to the accident, Skeen said.

“The pedestrians are at fault because you can’t be in a roadway outside of a crosswalk,” Skeen said. “That’s unfortunate for them, but they’re lucky to be alive.”

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