An elderly California man who just 12 hours earlier had been warned not to drive, was involved in an accident on Tuesday that injured both he and his wife.
Dean Waln, 78, of Turlock, was injured when the 2008 Chevrolet HHR he was driving north left Highway 395 near Topaz Lane just south of Topaz Lake.
The vehicle continued east until it overturned and collided with a barbed wire fence at about 5:48 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.
Highway 395 was closed for less than 15 minutes while a tow truck pulled the vehicle back onto the roadway.
Waln received a cut to his forehead and a spinal fracture. He was helicoptered to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno. His wife, Wanda, 68, complained of injury to her arm and leg. She was taken to Carson Valley Medical Center for treatment.
The accident wasn’t Waln’s first contact with the California Highway Patrol along Highway 395 on Tuesday, according to spokeswoman Anne Morin. At 5:45 a.m., his vehicle was found blocking a lane of the highway near the Bodie Road south of Bridgeport. The CHP officer found him in shorts and a T-shirt standing by his car in 36-degree weather.
After getting the HHR safely off the road and Waln into the patrol car, the officer found that he didn’t have a valid driver’s license and wasn’t able to answer questions or care for himself.
He was ordered not to drive again. He was reunited with his wife in Mammoth Lakes that morning.