9 people injured in Calif. crash caused by mountain lion
The crash required firefighters and emergency medics from around the county, as well as four REACH and CAL STAR air ambulances, to help with the injured
By Mary Callahan
The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.
SANTA ROSA, Calif. — A head-on collision shut down Highway 29 in Lake County for two hours late Friday and early Saturday morning after a driver struck a large mountain lion crossing the road, then veered into an oncoming vehicle, injuring nine people overall.
The resulting crash drew firefighters and emergency medics from around the county, as well as four REACH and CAL STAR air ambulances, to muster sufficient resources to tend to the injured, authorities said. Four were seriously hurt, including two people who were not wearing seat belts, the CHP said.
“It was a mass casualty incident,” Kelseyville Fire engineer/paramedic Shane Tinker said. “We transported nine people.”
The collision occurred just before 10:30 p.m. on a straightaway section of the rural highway just north of Kits Corner Store & Gas, located at Highway 29 and Soda Bay Road, CHP Sgt. Corey Regnani said.
Kelseyville resident Natividad Sanchez, 40, was northbound in a Ford F-150 when she struck the big cat in the dark and swerved to the left, CHP said.
The truck slid sideways at a high speed into the oncoming lane and directly into the path of a Lexus RX300 sport utility vehicle, causing major impact to both vehicles, authorities said.
Sanchez and two passengers, Ceniada Zuniga, 52, and Francisco Gaspar, whose age was unknown, all suffered major injuries in the crash and were flown out of the county in separate helicopters — Gaspar going to Kaiser Permanente in Vacaville and the other two landing at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.
The driver of the Lexus, Daniel Lou Aguilera, 71, of Kelseyville, also was taken by air to Kaiser in Vacaville, CHP said.
Angeles Gaspar, 16, another passenger in the F-150, was taken to Sutter Lakeside Hospital with moderate injuries, as was Perla Gaspar, 14. Both are Kelseyville residents.
Carlos Gaspar, 17, was taken to Sutter Lakeside with minor injuries. All three traveled by ground ambulance.
Lexus passengers Oscar Enrique Zayasbazan, 65, of Florida and Mariela Mercedes Grillettarredonido, 50, of Venezuela, both suffered minor injuries and were taken to St. Helena Hospital, Clearlake.
The mountain lion was killed, apparently on impact, Regnani said.
©2019 The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.)