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Deadly Thanksgiving holiday on Bay Area, Northern California roads

By Beat News Service November 25, 2012 No Comments Print Share

The California Highway Patrol and local police agencies reported at least a dozen traffic deaths on Northern California roadways over the Thanksgiving holiday, marking a bloody increase in the number of fatalities during one of the busiest periods for travel each year.

One of the deadliest crashes happened Saturday evening when a 2004 Toyota Prius crossed the center line and slammed head-on into a van on Highway 50 east of Placerville.

Three people in the Prius, the man behind the wheel, a woman and a boy, were killed in the crash. A fourth passenger in the Prius — a child — survived the crash with moderate injuries.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s office identified the dead as 38-year-old Sheng Kun Su, the driver;39-year-old Shu Zhen Zhao, the mother of the children; and 8-year-old Shawn Su, all from Oakland. The surviving passenger from the Prius was identified as 10-year-old Elly Aili Su.

A 4-year-old passenger in the van was also killed. Sheriff’s officials identified her as Nora Elizabeth Temple, 4, of Pollock Pines, Calif.

Four others in the van, a 35-year-old woman who was the driver, a 51-year-old male passenger and two 1-year-olds, suffered minor to moderate injuries.

Meanwhile, a series of Bay Area traffic collisions claimed the lives of pedestrians and motorists on the roads during the holiday weekend.

  • A 23-year-old El Sobrante man was killed in a fiery crash on westbound Highway 80 at 2:20 a.m. Sunday when his 2005 BMW slammed into the back of a big rig truck and caught fire, the Highway Patrol reported. His passenger, a 21 year-old-man from San Pablo, was seriously injured. Neither the big rig driver or his passenger were hurt in the crash, which shut down all lanes of the freeway for three hours following the collision.
  • A head-on collision claimed the life of a 59 year-old San Jose man when he drove the wrong way in the southbound lanes of San Tomas Expressway and slammed into another vehicle just north of Williams Road at approximately 9 p.m. Saturday.
  • An unidentified woman walking on the northbound side of Highway 101 near the Oyster Point Boulevard off-ramp in South San Francisco was struck and killed by three cars at around 8:20 p.m. Saturday. The Highway Patrol said the car that initially struck the woman did not stop after the crash and drove away from the scene. Two subsequent drivers that struck the woman’s body did pull over to the side of the roadway. The incident closed all lanes of the freeway for three hours until the coroner could remove the body.
  • A 33-year-old woman was killed when her car collided with a tree at  Leigh Avenue and Potrero Drive in San Jose at 5:45 p.m. Saturday, police said.
  • A 67-year-old man was killed while waiting for a bus on the 1700 block of South Delaware Street in San Mateo at 11:30 a.m. Saturday when the driver of a Chevrolet Camaro lost control and slammed into a cement garbage can at the bus stop. The can landed on the victim and crushed him to death, authorities said. The driver of the Camaro stopped to check on the man but got back into his car and fled before authorities arrived. Using information from witnesses, police later arrested Josue Lopez, 26, on felony hit and run charges. Police said a 5-year-old child was in the back seat of his car at the time of the collision.
  • In Vallejo, a 61-year-old woman was killed while crossing Sonoma Boulevard and Winchester Street at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday when she was hit by a pick-up truck, Vallejo Police reported. The impact of the crash threw her several feet. Authorities were investigating whether speed or alcohol was a factor in the crash.
  • On Friday, two sisters in their twenties from San Bruno were killed when their family’s SUV flipped on the northbound lanes of Highway 101 in Palo Alto at 7:30 a.m. near the Oregon Expressway exit. The Highway Patrol said the driver of the vehicle rear-ended a parked CHP cruiser on the right shoulder of the freeway and then overturned. Four other family members and a CHP officer were also injured in the crash.

The Highway Patrol said Saturday morning there they were investigating an increase in the number of traffic fatalities during this year’s Thanksgiving holiday weekend compared to last year’s, but reported a decrease in the number of people who were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Contact the Beat at news@californiabeat.org.

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