Tahoe City family recovering after head-on crash with alleged drunken driver
July 27, 2010
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to include the correct spelling of the driver of the Acura, Heather Lavoie. The Sierra Sun regrets the error.
TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; Four people are recovering from major injuries after an Olympic Valley man suspected of drunken driving crashed his pick-up truck last Wednesday into an SUV, sending it down an embankment off Highway 89 and into a nearby bicyclist.
California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Skeen said Matthew Dubois, 34, of Olympic Valley, was driving a 1998 Chevy Silverado northbound on Highway 89 near Rampart when he collided head-on with a 2002 Acura MDX SUV that was occupied by Heather Lavoie, 42, Donna Howard, 66, and Laboie’s 6-year-old daughter, all from Tahoe City. The Acura careened down the nearby embankment, striking a cyclist who was pedaling along the Truckee River.
Dubois was taken to Tahoe Forest Hospital and#8212; later transported to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno and#8212; with major injuries and was eventually arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Laboie and Howard were flown by CareFlight and CalStar helicopters to the Renown Medical Center with critical injuries, while the 6-year-old girl was taken to Tahoe Forest Hospital, Skeen said.
According to CHP, the cyclist, a man from Salt Lake City, suffered minor injuries and did not require hospitalization.
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In a Tuesday interview with CHP Officer Ray Kulak, the highway patrol is working to jail Dubois for the injuries he caused; however, because Dubois is now in a Nevada hospital, when he is placed into custody will have to be coordinated with the Washoe County’s Sheriff’s Office.
and#8220;We’d like to have him in handcuffs going to jail,and#8221; Kulak said.
Kulak said the court will decide when he will be arraigned and whether bail will be an option.
On Tuesday, Nicole Shearer, a public relations officer at Renown Regional Medical Center, said Laboie and Howard are in fair condition, are conscious and indications are favorable for their eventual recovery. That status of the 6-year-old was unknown as of this writing.
Dave Zaski, public information officer for the North Tahoe Fire Protection District, said Highway 89 was blocked for some time after the incident was reported around 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 21.
In addition to highway patrol and the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Zaski said North Tahoe Fire Engine 51, Battalion 5, Ambulance 51 and Squaw Valley’s Rescue 21 responded to help extricate the victims from the vehicles, except for the child who was pulled from the wreckage by a pedestrian in the area.