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Firefighters worked to extricate Lana Rains from the crushed Taurus which was spun around by the impact of an oncoming truck at the intersection of Mt. Pinos Way and Frazier Mountain Park Road. [photo by The Mountain Enterprise]
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The shrine to Barry ‘Bear’ Weksler. [photo by The Mountain Enterprise]
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Barry 'Bear' Weksler who died at the intersection of Frazier Mountain Park Road and Mt. Pinos Way in 2005. [photo by Ed Storm]
Two new accidents this month are a warning to slow down
By Patric Hedlund
You know the intersection. It is the western corner of Frazier Mountain Park Road and Mt. Pinos Way, where a roadside shrine is watched over by a carved wooden bear.In June 2005, a green Jeep Cherokee traveling eastbound on Frazier Mountain Park Road had came to a stop to turn left onto Mt. Pinos Way. It was struck from behind by a black Nissan sedan. The impact pushed the jeep into westbound traffic to collide with the motorcycle being driven by Barry Alan “Bear” Weksler. Weksler was thrown 30 feet and died from his injuries.
This month, two nearly identical accidents at that same intersection may have led CHP Officer Matthew Iturriria to feel he was trapped in a deja vu moment.
On Friday, May 10 at 3:53 p.m. Iturriria responded to an accident at the corner of Frazier Mountain Park Road and Mt. Pinos Way. Just seven days earlier, on Friday, May 3 at 3:05 p.m., he had been called to the same spot for what appeared to be the very same accident with slight variations.
In both cases the weather conditions were noted as clear and dry—a spring day with no unusual conditions. Visibility on both days was perfect.
In both cases, two cars were traveling eastbound on Frazier Mountain Park Road, and in each instance when the leading vehicle stopped to turn left onto Mt. Pinos Way, the trailing vehicle slammed into it.
On May 3 Jeremie Points, 36 of Frazier Park was driving a large grey Ford F-350 pickup truck eastbound. He was traveling behind a 2002 gold Ford Taurus driven by Justie Rains, 23 of Lake of the Woods. Her passengers were her daughter, Ava Beck, 19 months and her mother, Lana Rains, 55. All three live in Lake of the Woods. She stopped to turn left.
Points said he was driving within the speed limit when he was seized by a sneezing fit, causing him to close his eyes for a second. That’s when the accident happened.
On May 10 Manuel T. Diaz, 47 of Bakersfield was driving a white 2000 Toyota Tacoma eastbound on Frazier Mountain Park Road when he collided with the rear of a 2008 black Chevy Malibu driven by Jacob J. Schulze, 20 of Frazier Park. Schulze had stopped to make the same left turn.
Diaz also said he was driving within the 55 mph speed limit. He was able to hit his brakes before the collision.
None of the drivers had been drinking, investigators said. In both of the recent cases, investigating Officer Iturriria reported that the second car caused the collision by driving “in violation of 22350 of the Vehicle Code—Unsafe speed for conditions (stopped traffic).”
No injuries were reported from the May 10 crash. But on May 3 passenger Lana Rains received severe facial lacerations and complained of pain to her head, neck and back. She was taken by Hall Ambulance to a waiting helicopter for transport to Kern Medical Center.
Justie Rains and her daughter, Ava, were transported to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital by ambulance to be checked. Rains had a slight laceration on the face with pain to her head, neck and back. No injuries to the child were reported by CHP on its final report. She was in a sturdy baby carrier seat.