Man killed when boulder rolls into highway

A man was killed when a 7-1/2 foot boulder rolled into the path of his gray Toyota Corolla on Highway 50 north of Cave Rock Friday night, according to Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Blair Harkleroad.

The man was not identified pending notification of next of kin. He was the only person in the four-door car, which had Nevada license plates.

The incident occurred just before 6:30 p.m. when the round rock dislodged from the hillside above the highway and tumbled down the slope.

According to witnesses, the rock came down just as the Corolla turned the corner and struck it head on in the slow lane.

This type of accident doesn't happen often," according to Harkleroad.

"This is the first one I've seen," he said.

The rock, about 4 feet tall, came down a 50-degree slope about 400 yards north of the pullout for Logan Shoals Vista Point.

After the sedan struck the rock a white, 1993 Chevy pickup came around the corner and swerved to avoid the Corolla. The front right of the pickup clipped the back left of the Corolla. The driver of the Chevy was not hurt.

"There was only property damage," Harkleroad said.

The Corolla's front end was buckled and the windshield smashed. Glass, snow and rocky debris littered the highway. The orange plastic of a turn signal lay under the massive rock.

A muddy trough was left in the hillside where the potato-shaped rock slid down.

The victim was taken to a nearby fire station to await transportation to a funeral home. Harkleroad said the victim was wearing the shoulder strap of an automatic seat belt, but not the lap belt.

The smashed Toyota Corolla was placed on a flat-bed tow truck at about 8 p.m. and driven to a Carson City tow yard. Nevada Department of Transportation road crews used a front-end loader to remove the boulder. Though traffic was stopped for a short time, deputies routed the four lanes of traffic into two lanes allowing motorists to pass. Highway 50 was entirely reopened by 9 p.m.

Douglas County Sheriff's deputies, Tahoe-Douglas Fire and Paramedic units, and the Nevada Highway Patrol all responded to the accident.


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