Wrong-way driver in fatal crash still recovering
The wrong-way driver involved in the Nov. 20 crash that killed two children and two adults will be charged with multiple counts of murder and gross vehicular manslaughter, Nevada County District Attorney Jesse Wilson said.
Michael Scott Kelley, 32, of Antelope, will face four charges of murder and four charges of gross vehicular manslaughter for the deaths of two 29 year olds — Brittney and Antonio Montano, of North Highlands — as well as their 9-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son.
A third child, a baby held in the arms of one of the adults, survived the crash and was airlifted to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, reports state.
According to Officer Jason Lyman of the California Highway Patrol’s Gold Run office, a five-member family was traveling eastbound on Interstate 80 in a 2018 Honda Civic when a 2018 Jeep Wrangler hit them heading westbound on the wrong side of the Interstate.
“They were on the eastbound side,” Lyman said of the family of five. “The jeep was traveling the wrong way — it was going westbound in the eastbound lane.”
Kelley was airlifted to a hospital in Reno from the site near Eagle Lakes Road, Lyman said, where he is receiving treatment for serious injuries. Lyman said court dates remain pending given the severity of the wrong-way driver’s injuries and the time required to recover.
“I don’t know the exact time, but I know he’s in serious shape and it’s likely to be a little while still,” Lyman said.
Lyman said because the defendant is still in Nevada recovering, authorities there will have to extradite him to California.
Lyman said officers suspect substances were involved.
“We’re suspecting a DUI,” Lyman said. “They did blood stuff, but it hasn’t been completed yet.”
There were three vehicles involved in the crash that took four lives the weekend before Thanksgiving, Lyman said, adding that the driver of a 2004 GMC pickup who suffered relatively minor injuries has been released.
Lyman said he has seen wrecks like this that have taken lives.
“It was definitely a horrible, horrible collision,“ Lyman said. ”It could have been avoided by using better judgment, but also you need to drive defensively.
“I don’t know how much time elapsed from the time one person could see the other vehicle headed the wrong way, but if you have the thought in the back of your mind, keep on the lookout.”
Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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