BASS LAKE – A family from Fresno celebrating their son’s birthday at Bass Lake were lucky to escape injury when both their cars were hit by an alleged drunk driver this evening.
Just after 9:30 p.m., Thomas Ridley, 66, of Bass Lake, was westbound on Road 222 in a Subaru Impreza at what was reported by witnesses as a high rate of speed as he rounded the tight corner at Lakeside Day Use Area.
Ridley came around the corner and struck the left rear of the Toyota, snapping the rear axle and shoving the car into the Chevy parked just ahead of it.
Two girls, ages 10 and 13, were at the rear of the Toyota and narrowly missed being hit by the Subaru, which flipped over and came to rest on its roof blocking both lanes.
People who were camping on the opposite side of the road from the day use area heard the loud crash and saw lights “fly up into the air” as the Subaru rolled.
Dozens of people ran to the scene and some assisted the driver in getting out of the overturned vehicle. There were also two dogs in the car, one of which ran off into the darkness and was being searched for by those at the scene.
Ridley was checked out and cleared by Sierra Ambulance personnel, given a breathalyzer test by CHP, and placed under arrest for DUI. He reportedly said he thought he was on Deadwood.
The roadway was blocked for over two hours as those pulling trailers had no choice but to sit and wait, with no place to turn around.
The accident remains under investigation.