At approximately 4:20 p.m. CHP received reports of a crash just south of Coarsegold at Coyote Hollow Lane.
According to CHP, Austin Turney, 33, was northbound on Highway 41 in a Ford Explorer Sport. He was on the left of the double passing lane, approaching the merge at what witnesses described as a high rate of speed.
Traveling on the right was a Chevy Cruze, driven by a male from Spain with a female passenger from Irvine, California. As they approached the merge, Turney reportedly sped up to try and get around the Chevy, and clipped the left rear of their vehicle. That caused them to spin, and Turney’s Explorer then clipped the left front quarter panel of the Chevy.
The driver of the Chevy was able to bring the vehicle to a stop, but the Explorer flipped over onto its roof, coming to rest blocking the northbound lane.
Cal Fire Engine 4285 arrived at scene to find the driver of the vehicle had suffered major abrasions to his left arm and forehead. His only passenger was canine: a yellow Labrador named Hank who is now missing. Hank was last seen heading west after the crash.
Witnesses reported to 911 that the Explorer had been passing over double yellow lines just before the accident.
Turney was placed under arrest for suspicion of DUI and transported by Sierra Ambulance to Madera Community Hospital for evaluation and treatment of his injuries. This is the fifth time that Turney — who has variously claimed to reside in Bass Lake, Coarsegold and Visalia — has been arrested for DUI since November, 2016.
One-way traffic control was put in place for an hour while the scene was cleared and the CHP conducted their investigation, which is ongoing.
The couple in the Chevy were reportedly uninjured.
If you have seen Hank the Yellow Lab, please call Sierra News Online at 559-877-3333. Many people are concerned and are willing to take him in.