COARSEGOLD – A crash just south of Serpa Canyon Road reduced traffic to one lane just before noon today.
Joy Wood, 57, of Coarsegold, was southbound on Highway 41 in a 2006 Altima at a stated speed of 55 mph, when, for unknown reasons, she veered into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with another vehicle, according to CHP at the scene.
Bill Zaho, 52, of Oakhurst, was northbound at 40 mph in a 2001 Tacoma pickup, when he was struck by Wood. He then veered into oncoming traffic and collided with a 2011 Kia Soul, driven by Bret Cloninger, 52, of Visalia.
“I just had nowhere to go,” says Cloninger, who was sad to see the major damage to what he referred to as the “Smurfulance,” due to its bright green color and square shape, that his family always said resembled an ambulance.
Cloninger says he was not injured, but had a bit of pain in his shoulder from the impact of the airbag going off.
Wood was uninjured also, and Mr. Zaho was transported by Sierra Ambulance to St. Agnes in Fresno with minor injuries and complaints of pain.
Mr. Cloninger, who is an insurance adjuster by trade, says he investigates this type of incident all the time, but has managed to avoid them himself for many years.
“As long as everybody is okay, it’s a good day,” he said, as he headed into Oakhurst to rent a car so he could be on his way.
Madera County Engines 8 and 12 responded, along with Squad 212 and Cal Fire Engine 4295. Cal Fire Battalion Chief 4215 was first on scene, and took command of the incident until CHP arrived. Madera County Sheriff Citizens on Patrol assisted with one-lane traffic control until the scene was cleared at about 1:15 p.m.
The accident remains under investigation. There was no indication of drugs or alcohol being involved.