A female passenger from Saratoga was seriously injured in a head-on collision that caused a fire and the death of five people. The accident occurred on the scenic highway between the Bay Area and Yosemite National Park as well as other Sierra Nevada locations. According to a spokesperson from the California Highway Patrol, the accident was one of the worst in recent times.
The crash involved a 2012 Mercedes-Benz SUV as well as a Nissan Maxima Sedan and occurred on Highway 120 at Smith Station Road on October 24 at approximately 6:30 p.m.. Authorities report that there were vehicles ahead of the two cars involved in the fatal collision, but no witnesses had come forward as of the next day. The Saratoga woman was the only passenger in the Mercedes to survive the accident, while the others died at the scene.
The driver of the Nissan was a 22-year-old man who also died at the scene. His 22-year-old female passenger suffered major injuries and both survivors were airlifted to hospitals in Modesto. The CHP representative reports that alcohol and drugs have not been ruled out as potential causes of the accident and since both drivers were killed, the cause will not be known until the autopsy reports are returned. Highway 120 had to be closed for several hours, but it was reopened the next morning.
Car accidents in which the drivers are killed may pose difficulties when it comes to determining liability. If it is determined that one or both drivers were intoxicated, the surviving victims may be eligible for compensation. A personal injury lawyer could possibly help an injured victim obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning potential and other care-related expenses.