Sheriff: 'Keep your eyes on the road'

Traffic is backed up on Highway 395 past the Highway 50 intersection on Wednesday.

Traffic is backed up on Highway 395 past the Highway 50 intersection on Wednesday.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.


While no information is available on the specific cause of the four collisions that snarled Douglas County highways on Wednesday, the odds are speed and driver inattention had a lot to do with them.

“I would ask the public to do two things,” Sheriff Dan Coverley said on Thursday. “Slow down and put your phone away when you’re driving. Those two things would reduce accidents immensely.”

Four people were injured across four hours in four separate crashes from one end of Douglas County to the other on Wednesday.

A motorcyclist was helicoptered to Roseville, Calif., for treatment after he reportedly went 20 feet down an embankment off Highway 208 just east of Holbrook Junction at around 6:10 p.m.

Reno was socked in with smoke from the Mosquito Fire, so Care Flight went to the California hospital instead.

Three people were transported from a multiple-vehicle collision 2:15 p.m. that backed up traffic on Highway 395 past the intersection with Interstate 580.

Northbound traffic was delayed as passing motorists checked out the wreckage. Drivers diverted into the parking lot of Carson Valley Plaza in search of a way around the wreck, which was located at the top driveway above the Best Buy. Nevada State Police troopers had the highway shut down to one lane as tow trucks cleared the wreckage.

A sedan, a Subaru and two large pickups were involved in the collision.

At about the same time a big rig and a tractor towing a mower collided at Muller Parkway and Highway 395. Southbound motorists again found themselves stuck in a traffic jam that extended past Genoa Lane.

Some made the turn onto Genoa Lane and headed south on Foothill to Mottsville to avoid the collision which snarled the highway for around three hours.

A tow truck was loading the tractor at about 5:55 p.m. when the call came in for a T-bone collision just north of the intersection with Highway 88.

No one was transported for treatment from the collision, but both vehicles had to be towed.

“So far this year in Douglas County we have had five traffic fatalities,” Coverley said. “The main contributing factor to accidents is speed and driver inattention. Impairment caused by alcohol and drugs is also a common cause of accidents.”

Coverley said the number of vehicles on the road is another contributing factor.

“An increase in the volume of traffic is also a factor in my opinion, the more cars on the road the more chances to get in an accident,” he said.

The No. 1 complaint that the sheriff’s office receives is for traffic issues, mostly speeding.

“We have purchased two additional radar trailers that record data that can be analyzed to determine how bad speeding is at that specific location and also to attempt to slow cars down,” he said. “The data we get is good, but I’m not sure if it slows anyone down.”

Last month, sheriff’s deputies made 726 traffic stops and issued 238 citations.

“Enforcement is only one tool to slow people down and is only effective while the deputy is physically present,” he said 

Once a deputy leaves, then the deterrent of a ticket leaves, too.

Collisions are being investigated by the state police highway patrol division. The Record-Courier has reached out to find out more.


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