Coroner: Driver died from accident injuries |

Coroner: Driver died from accident injuries

by Sheila Gardner

The driver of a van involved in a three-vehicle accident died of injuries from the collision, the Washoe County Coroner’s Office reported Thursday.

Deputy coroner Sherry Johnson said Marvin Kirk, 75, of Gardnerville, died Tuesday of blunt force trauma.

There was speculation at the time of the accident that Kirk had died at the wheel, losing control of the 1994 Mercury Villager van. His 82-year-old wife, Pauline, who was a passenger in the van, died later that night.

Johnson said Nevada Highway Patrol investigators raised the issue of Marvin Kirk’s health and that was under investigation, but blunt force trauma was the primary cause.

“With multiple injuries, sometimes it’s hard to tell if there were other causes involved,” Johnson said. “We’re still looking at it.”

The accident occurred at 12:50 p.m. Tuesday on Highway 395 near the intersection of Highway 88 in Minden.

A third person, 37-year-old Kristen Gingrich of Gardnerville, was taken to Carson Valley Medical Center where she was treated and released.

Preliminary reports indicate that Kirk’s van was traveling north on Highway 395 in the left-hand travel lane. The driver lost control causing it to cross the median and into the southbound lane.

The van struck the left side of a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria driven by Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Mezzetta, 47, which was traveling in the southbound travel lane. He was uninjured.

Mezzetta swerved to avoid the van which collided head-on with a 2002 Suzuki utility driven by Gingrich.

Pauline Kirk was taken by helicopter to a Reno hospital where she died of her injuries shortly after 8 p.m.

Marvin Kirk was dead at the scene despite the efforts of emergency personnel who performed CPR.

The Kirks, married for 41 years, had been Carson Valley residents for 13 years.

“Somebody lost two parents,” said Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Chuck Allen. “That’s never easy, but it’s especially hard at this time of year.”


Anyone who witnessed the accident is asked to call Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Mike Gamberg, 688-2500.