Two dead after Christmas accident |

Two dead after Christmas accident

Two deaths resulting from an Interstate 80 accident could have been prevented had the victims been wearing seat belts, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The accident occurred on Christmas at about 5:46 p.m. on eastbound I-80 near the Donner Summit rest area. Nineteen-year-old Jose Manuel Gomez-Velasquez, and 49-year-old Elvia Garcia-Aguilar were ejected from a 1996 GMC Yukon and sustained fatal injuries. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

“The vehicle went in a northeast direction and struck the snow-covered hillside,” said investigating CHP Officer Mike Kotko. “It then overturned several times, coming to rest in an upright position.”

A 14-year-old girl, a 16-year-old girl, a 17-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man riding in the SUV sustained minor to moderate injuries and were transported by ambulance to Tahoe Forest Hospital, according to the CHP.

Gomez-Velasquez, who was driving, Garcia-Aguilar, who was in the rear-left seat, and the 14-year-old girl were not wearing seat belts, according to the CHP.

Kotko said the driver and passengers were from Sparks.

CHP closed eastbound I-80 at Soda Springs, re-routing traffic over Old Highway 40, for more than two hours, Kotko said.

There were no witnesses except the passengers in the vehicle, Kotko said.

He said weather was not a factor, and didn’t think alcohol was either.

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