COARSEGOLD — Two separate accidents on Highway 41 slowed traffic to a crawl just north of Road 200 this afternoon, finally bringing the afternoon commute to a standstill as first responders tended to those involved and tow operators cleared the scene.
Just before 4 p.m., CHP and firefighters responded to a multi-vehicle accident in front of the Black Hawk Lodge.
According to CHP at the scene, a woman from Oakland in a Toyota Prius was northbound, waiting to turn left onto Road 207. Right behind her was a white Dodge 2500, followed by an older blue Dodge pickup pulling a loaded trailer. Both pickup drivers were reportedly from Madera.
In an all-too-familiar scenario at this location, people are not aware enough of anyone signaling a left turn, and the pickup with the trailer crashed into the back of the white Dodge, who hit the back of the Prius. It is not known at this time if the blue pickup pushed the Dodge into the Prius or if the white truck failed to stop in time.
Both lanes were blocked, and vehicles began going up into the parking lot of the Black Hawk Lodge to get around the wreck.
First responders were able to assist in getting all three vehicles off the shoulder as far as possible, but there was glass and debris all over the roadway and one-lane traffic control was put in place.
Traffic was backed up past Road 200 on the south, and well past Yosemite Springs Parkway on the north until nearly 5:30 p.m. as the scene was cleared.
Sierra Ambulance responded to evaluate those involved, including a minor who was a passenger in the Prius, according to CHP, but no one was in need of further medical treatment or transport to the hospital.
Just as tow trucks began arriving to clear the wreckage, a call came in of another crash farther north.
The driver reportedly lives at the intersection of Mecca Lane, and apparently missed the turn and slammed into the embankment on the east side of the road. The force of the impact snapped the front axle and sent the car skidding across the road and into the turnout.
The driver of the Honda was arrest on suspicion of DUI.
Both incidents remain under investigation.