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December 3, 2012
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Name of driver in wrong-way Interstate 80 accident released

A 41-year-old Fernley resident was identified as the driver of a silver 2003 Honda Civic, who was killed in a head-on collision on Interstate 80 near Fernley.

Tonya Babashoff sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol.

Troopers began getting calls that Babashoff's Honda was on the wrong side of the freeway at 8:58 p.m.

A trooper spotted the car, which was westbound in the eastbound lanes and spent several minutes with his lights and siren activated chasing the car down the wrong lanes, narrowly avoiding a collision with the vehicle.

The NHP trooper went back to the westbound lanes to try and get ahead of the driver, while a spike strip was deployed in front of the Honda. Despite hitting the spike strip, the driver kept going until at 9:12 p.m. when Babashoff was involved in a collision with three oncoming vehicles.

Richard S. Vogel, 21, of Mariposa, California, was driving his black 2002 Ford F-150 pickup that was pulling a boat trailer eastbound in the number one, or left, travel lane. He saw the wrong-way vehicle approaching, a silver 2003 Honda Civic 2-door, and swerved toward the right lane to avoid striking the vehicle head-on. The sedan struck the left rear portion of his boat trailer before traveling head-on into the vehicle that was following directly behind, a light green 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup driven by his brother, 22-year-old Justin C. Vogel, also from Mariposa.

Moments after the Honda and Dodge collided and while both vehicles were still in motion, a fourth vehicle described as a white 2005 Chevrolet Silverado pickup traveling eastbound, driven by Barry J. Strickler, 64 of Elko, tried to avoid striking the two vehicles which were occupying both eastbound travel lanes. The left front of the Chevy struck the rear of the Honda. Strickler and Richard Vogel escaped injury while Justin received moderate to serious injures and was airlifted from the crash scene by Care Flight and flown to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno.

Both lanes of eastbound Interstate 80 were blocked for about an hour to secure roadway evidence and diagram the locations of the involved vehicles. Traffic was then reduced to just one lane until approximately 3 a.m., when all lanes were cleared and re-opened.

Trooper Chris Kelly of the Major Accident Investigation Team is investigating the accident. Witnesses, or anyone with additional information, are encouraged to contact him at (775) 689-4661 regarding case number NHP-121200751.

Investigators are waiting the results of toxicology reports to determine whether Babashoff was impaired.

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The Record Courier Updated Dec 3, 2012 02:40PM Published Dec 3, 2012 02:26PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.