NORTH FORK – A single-vehicle crash on Road 200 this morning sent the driver to the hospital and CHP at the scene suspect the driver may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
At 8:16 a.m., a call came in to 911 that a car had crashed into the embankment just above the Cal Fire Rancheria Fire station on Road 200.
According to witnesses, the Hyundai Elantra went straight ahead when the road curved to the right. The lack of tire marks on the pavement from skidding or braking appears to bear that out.
Contractor Jordan Grunwald of Squaw Valley was on his way to a flooring job in North Fork and was northbound on Road 200 when he looked in his rearview mirror and saw the Hyundai approaching from behind at a high rate of speed.
Grunwald says the car never slowed as it crossed the southbound lane, drove up the curb and across a driveway, smashed into an 5-foot dirt embankment and rolled onto the driver’s side, narrowly missing a power pole.
The spot where the accident occurred is a dead spot for cell phone service and several people called 911 but the calls were dropped. Someone was finally successful in conveying the information to dispatch, and CHP responded along with Madera County Engine 8.
The driver, Matthew Dean Markle, 25, of North Fork, told CHP that he had fallen asleep behind the wheel and also that he was a meth user. Officers found a large amount of drug paraphernalia inside the car. Markle was also driving on a suspended license.
Firefighters worked to stabilize the patient and get him onto a litter while waiting for Sierra Ambulance to arrive. Markle was airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center with what were described by CHP as moderate injuries.
The road was not blocked as the scene was processed. The accident remains under investigation.