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Head-on collision sends five to hospital; multiple helicopters assisted


Nathanial Smotrys, 18, from Garden Grove, California, was driving a 2005 GMC Sierra on July 29 at approximately 5:28 p.m. He was traveling northbound on Highway 89, south of Sierraville, with one passenger.

Stephen Reikes, 54, from Livermore, California, was driving a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado, southbound on Highway 89, also south of Sierraville. There were two passengers with Reikes in his vehicle.

According to a report by the California Highway Patrol, Smotrys fell asleep and drove into the southbound lane.  Reikes came around a blind curve and observed the other vehicle completely in his lane.  Reikes swerved into the northbound lane in an attempt to avoid the collision.  Smotrys woke up and realized his mistake.  Smotrys then swerved back into the northbound lane and both vehicles collided head on.  Both vehicles rolled to the low side of the road and came to rest against a rock wall on the east side of the highway.

Multiple good Samaritans and off-duty law enforcement/medical personnel assisted the parties until Sierraville Fire arrived on scene.  USFS and Truckee Fire also responded to the scene and assisted with the injured parties. Five of the six parties involved in the collision were transported to Renown Medical Center via multiple helicopters for serious injuries.

Both directions of Highway 89 were closed for approximately an hour for the collision investigation.

If any member of the public has information regarding this incident, they are encouraged to contact the California Highway Patrol at (530) 252-1900.

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