Crashes Increase on Mountain Roads with Spring

By Patric Hedlund

Just as ice and snow fade into memory, balmy spring days present sudden new hazards to drivers on our tricky mountain roads, requiring motorists to stay cautious and alert.

The four-legged residents of the mountains are now out, foraging for food and making families. Squirrels, chipmunks, deer, bear, quail, raccoon, fox and even feral pigs are likely to dart into the path of vehicles both day and night.

The Fort Tejon office of the California Highway Patrol reports recent single car accidents that may have involved motorists losing control when trying to avoid hitting wildlife. Some may have been caused by motorists going too fast when they encountered furry springtime pedestrians on the road.

On April 20 at about 8:20 p.m. Nora Salazar, 52 was driving a 2004 Ford F-150 pickup on Mil Potrero Highway near Cedarwood at about 40 miles per hour when she swerved, lost control and collided with a dirt embankment.

On April 21 at about 12:30 a.m. Joe Carranza, 63 of San Fernando was driving a 1993 Chevrolet pickup west of Pine Mountain on Cerro Noroeste Road at about 40 miles per hour. He made a sudden swerve and was going too fast to avoid leaving the road and heading down a steep embankment. He spent the night at the bottom of the grade because there is no cell phone service. Seven hours later he was able to flag down another vehicle to summon help.

On April 28 at 1:30 a.m. Christopher Stiles, 38 was driving a red 2001 Ford pickup southbound on Lockwood Valley Road at about 35 mph, too fast for what he encountered on a curve. He collided with a road sign and a power pole, then fled the scene. CHP, after investigation, found him at his home.

This is part of the May 04, 2012 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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