Minor injuries in 7-car pileup | RecordCourier.com
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Minor injuries in 7-car pileup

by Linda Hiller

A seven-car accident at 1503 Highway 395 Thursday resulted in minor injuries for two Douglas High School students returning to school from their lunch break.

The accident occurred when an unidentified pedestrian, crossing in the crosswalk from approximately west to east at Highway 395 and Centertowne Drive, proceeded across the street.

Vehicles coming to a sudden halt in both northbound lanes on the east side of the street – three in the outside lane and four in the inside lane – became simultaneously involved in a pile-up that resulted in three “following too closely” citations.

A Douglas County Sheriff’s Office vehicle driven by Deputy D.J. Coverly initially stopped for the pedestrian. Behind him, a vehicle driven by Mary Linn Rodgers, a senior at DHS, stopped. Behind her, a vehicle driven by DHS junior Jennifer Buck failed to stop, according to the initial NHP report, hitting Rodgers truck, driving her into the police car. Buck’s vehicle was then hit from behind by a car driven by Matt Whitwam.

In the outside lane, a car driven by DHS junior Dannie Carlson stopped, followed by a truck driven by carpenter Tim Green. A car driven by DHS student Jamie York hit Green’s vehicle, driving it into Carlson’s car, according to initial reports.

Student Brianna Niichel was treated and released on site by paramedics. Student Mary Linn Rodgers was later treated for a sprained back her mother reported later in the day.

The accident is under investigation by Nevada Highway Patrol. Officer Amy Del Soldato took the reports at the scene.

“Whenever one of our vehicles is involved, we don’t do the investigation,” said DCSO Sgt. Ron Bushey.

NHP determined that two separate accidents occurred.

n What the law says. The laws governing crossing in a crosswalk state that drivers of motor vehicles should “exercise due care to avoid a collision … give an audible warning with the horn if appropriate … exercise proper caution upon observing a pedestrian on or near a highway, street or road, or in or near a school crossing zone or a marked or unmarked crosswalk.”

Pedestrians are not to suddenly leave a curb to enter the street, and should use their own caution, the law states.

“When the pedestrian is upon the half of the highway (separated by the center line) upon which the vehicle is traveling,” the driver shall yield,” the law reads. This means that if the pedestrian is not on your half of the highway, you may proceed with caution.

n Use common sense. Sgt. Lance Modispacher of the DCSO said that shouldn’t be enough for safe drivers – they should use more common sense when pedestrians are crossing.

“Even though the law states that you don’t have to stop until the pedestrian is on your half of the highway, I always stop as soon as someone enters the crosswalk,” said Modispacher. “I think it sets a good example, and also gives other drivers the heads-up that there is a pedestrian.”

Modispacher said this accident should serve as a reminder to both drivers and pedestrians to pay attention.

“I know in situations like this, the pedestrians feel terrible,” he said. “It also shows how driver’s inattention and following too close can be a serious problem.”

Modispacher said the rule of thumb is to leave one car length for every 10 miles per hour that a vehicle is traveling. The speed on this stretch of road is 25 mph.