NORTH FORK – The first rain in months and a little too much speed was a bad combination on Road 200 this afternoon.
Brandon Kluth, 20, of North Fork, was westbound on Road 200 just after 2:30 p.m., crossing the narrow bridge at Fine Gold Creek. The corner is marked at a suggested 25 mph, but according to CHP, he came in a little too fast.
When Kluth came to the sharp left-hand turn on the far side of the bridge, witnesses say he was going too fast and his right front tire went off the road and into the soft sand in the ditch.
That caused his car to fishtail, and after swerving a couple times, he slid back off the right shoulder and hit the rocky bank, causing his Hyundai Santa Fe to flip over, coming to rest in the eastbound lane on its roof.
Kluth was trapped in the vehicle, and rescuers worked with pry bars to free him, without success.
Squad 11 from North Fork arrived with the Jaws of Life, and within minutes, rescuers had Kluth extracted from the smashed car and into the waiting Sierra Ambulance.
He appeared to have suffered only a cut and some pain in his chest area. Though a SkyLife air ambulance was hovering overhead, the driver’s injuries were not severe enough to warrant transport by helicopter, and he was taken to a Fresno hospital by ground ambulance, according to CHP.
Both lanes of Road 200 were closed for about 45 minutes as the scene was cleared and the patient attended to.
Cal Fire Engines 4255 and 4275 responded, along with Madera County Fire Department Squad 11 from North Fork and Squad 10 from YLP.
No other vehicles were involved in the accident.