At 5:53 pm, emergency personnel arrived on scene to a head on collision that injured three patients and shut down Highway 4 between Sand Creek Road and Lone Tree Way. The accident occurred as the driver in a sedan crossed over the center line and striking an SUV.
As crews arrived on scene, they first had to secure the road to ensure safety. They used vehicles to shut down the roads and began working on patient care with mechanical tools as one patient was trapped.
Chris Helton of Brentwood was in the vehicle immediately behind the accident and witness the accident and observed crews working the incident. She was stuck on scene for over an hour as crews blocked off the roads and had to provide a witness statement to Highway Patrol.
“Driving behind the car, there was some erratic movement prior to the accident. It was almost mini-swerves so I took my foot off the gas to back off, then it swerves to the other side and accident happened. Instinctively I slammed on the breaks and it was surreal like did that just happened,” said Helton.
She explained how the driver of the sedan had a “hot belly” and crews worked to get the victim of scene as fast as possible while ensuring safety while the driver of the SUV climbed out of the vehicle on his own, but later complained of shoulder and arm injuries.
Helton explained how this incident reinforced just how quickly lives can change just by observing it happen.
“The impact it (the accident) had on me was just how quickly everything in life can change for those people involved. Just the smallest slip. I am really curious what happened in that car and what made the person to swerve. It didn’t just hurt her, but the passenger, the other vehicle, all the people in traffic. It effects so many lives,” said Helton. “We share the road, so we need to take responsibility for what we are doing and ensure we are driving safely and pay attention to what is around us.”
According to the Battalion Chief report, one patient had “major” injuries and had to be flown by CalStar helicopter to John Muir Trauma Center, while two patients with “moderate” injuries were transported by ground to local hospitals.
The California Highway Patrol is investigating the incident.
Photos provided by Chris Helton who was a witness to the incident.