An accident just before noon Friday sent four people to the hospital and blocked Highway 50 East between Saliman Road and Russell Way for more than an hour.
Trooper Rich Bailey said a 1977 Ford Thunderbird driven by Patricia Cook, 84, of Carson City, was westbound when Cook attempted to make a left turn into the Prestige Car Wash lot about 11:43 p.m.
Driver Carly Elkins, 17, and Kevin Liston, 15, were in a 1995 BMW sedan heading to Taco Bell during high school lunch break when Cook crossed their path.
"The right front of the T-bird went into the front of the BMW. That sent the BMW into the truck on the car wash lot," Bailey said.
Bailey said the license plates on the Thunderbird expired last year, and Cook does not hold a valid driver's license.
"The only license we found for her was from 1979," he said.
Traffic was blocked for about 75 minutes, causing lunchtime congestion on side streets.
Prestige Car Wash manager Clyde Sawyers said he was standing on the running board of a 2000 Chevy pickup getting ready to turn it over to owner Jim Nunes, of Carson City, when the accident happened.
"I heard the bang and saw cars coming at me and I got out of there," he said. Sawyers said the accident happened so fast, he was lucky to escape uninjured.
Nunes also said he didn't see the accident, but he heard it.
"I heard two bangs. They hit and then they hit my truck," he said.
The airbags in the BMW deployed.
"That car saved their lives, I'm telling you," said BMW owner, Johnny Liston, 21, who had allowed his girlfriend to use the vehicle.
He said both Elkins and his brother were taken by ambulance to Carson-Tahoe Hospital.
"I think they'll be OK. They just had bloody lips," he said.
Cook was taken by helicopter to Washoe Medical Center with an apparent broken ankle. The extent of her injures are unknown, Bailey said.
Cook's male passenger, who had yet to be identified, was also taken by helicopter and was in critical condition at Washoe Medical Center.
-- Contact reporter F.T. Norton at email@example.com or 881-1213.