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Early in the morning on April 22, a Toyota Prius that was driving east in the westbound lanes of Highway 50 in Sacramento County collided head-on with a pickup truck in the westbound lane. The collision caused the truck to spin. A third vehicle collided with the truck, causing the truck to catch fire.

California Highway Patrol received a call about 2:30 in the morning that a Prius was driving the wrong way on westbound Highway 50. The Prius reportedly had been driving in the wrong lane for several miles before the head-on collision occurred.

The driver of the Prius and all three occupants of the pickup truck were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the third vehicle suffered minor injuries. Police are reportedly investigating whether there is any link between the crash and the use of alcohol or drugs.

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A 44-year-old man was killed and a woman was critically injured in a two-vehicle accident near Santa Cruz on March 28. The crash occurred at approximately 2 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

Authorities said a 1991 Ford F-150 pickup truck was driving northbound on Empire Grade Road north of Llama Ranch Road when it crossed the double yellow lines into southbound traffic and struck an oncoming 2001 Chevrolet van near the north entrance to the University of California at Santa Cruz.

The driver of the pickup truck, who lived in the unincorporated area of Aptos, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The driver of the van, a 20-year-old woman, suffered critical and life-threatening injuries. She was airlifted to a nearby trauma center for treatment. Authorities said the pickup truck was traveling at a high rate of speed at the time of the crash, but the van was traveling within the posted speed limit.

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A major crash in California claimed the life of a 13-year-old girl. The accident happened on March 14 in Madera County on Highway 41.

According to law enforcement authorities, a 70-year-old man driving a pickup truck crossed the centerline of the highway, striking an oncoming sedan head-on. The 13-year-old girl was reportedly riding in the backseat of the sedan. She succumbed to her injuries. A 19-year-old woman who was also riding in the car suffered injuries reported as major. She had to be extricated from the vehicle by emergency personnel. The sedan's 48-year-old driver also suffered injuries characterized as major.

The pickup truck's driver and his wife both suffered minor to moderate injuries in the accident. Law enforcement officials indicated they do not believe alcohol was a factor in the collision. Police were still investigating the accident's cause at the time of the report.

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A head-on collision on Highway 1 near Lompoc left one man dead and another seriously hurt on March 10. The crash happened at approximately 6:30 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

Authorities said a man driving to work in a Toyota Tacoma drifted over the double-yellow line and collided head-on with a Chevrolet Silverado just south of Jalama Road. The Toyota driver, a 32-year-old man from Lynwood, died at the scene. The Chevrolet driver, a 33-year-old man from Lompoc, was trapped in his vehicle following the accident. A representative of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department reported on Twitter that it took 30 minutes to free him. He was transported to Cottage Hospital with major injuries.

CHP closed the southbound lanes of Highway 1 near Jalama Road for several hours as they investigated the scene. The accident remains under investigation.

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The California Highway Patrol and Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office were on the scene of a deadly accident that occurred in the community of Aptos at about 8 p.m. on March 1. Alcohol bottles were found at the scene of the crash, and DUI is a possible factor in a fatal head-on collision in which the 22-year-old driver of a Mercedes was killed. There were seven people in the vehicle designed to seat five, and none of the occupants were wearing a seat belt according to authorities. A 19-year-old woman and 18-year-old man riding in the front seat along with a 16-year-old girl riding in the back seat were all pronounced dead at the scene.

The accident happened when the westbound driver of the Mercedes was allegedly driving recklessly on Freedom Boulevard. He suddenly crossed into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with a Ford F-150 pickup driven by a 56-year-old man. According to a spokesperson for the CHP, the driver suffered severe injuries and remained hospitalized at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center the following day. There were no passengers in the pickup truck.

Also hospitalized in critical condition were an 18-year-old year-old female and a 21-year-old male passenger from the Mercedes. A third survivor from that vehicle is a 17-year-old female. She suffered the least injuries in the wreck but remained a patient at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Authorities involved in the accident investigation had not been able to get any information from the girl regarding the circumstances surrounding the wreck.

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California Highway Patrol confirmed that four people were killed in a head-on collision on March 1. The fatal motor vehicle accident took place on a rural road in Santa Cruz County at about 8 p.m. According to CHP reports, the driver of a black Mercedes sedan entered the path of oncoming traffic and struck a gray Ford F-150 head on.

Following the crash, firefighters had to tear the Mercedes apart in order to free some of the injured victims. The 22-year-old driver of the Mercedes and two of his teenage passengers were pronounced dead at the scene. Another teenage passenger in the Mercedes was pronounced dead after being rushed to the hospital. Three other Mercedes passengers and the 56-year-old driver of the Ford were treated at the hospital for injuries.

Although the investigation is ongoing, an officer with CHP said that alcohol and drugs were likely factors in the crash. Some evidence of alcohol consumption was found at the scene of the accident. There were also witnesses who said that they had seen the Mercedes speeding and driving erratically prior to the crash. None of the deceased victims had been wearing seat belts.

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A head-on collision between a 1986 Ford Ranger and an 2001 Nissan Frontier near Gird Road on State Route 76 in San Diego sent both drivers to the hospital with serious injuries. The accident is under investigation, however neither alcohol nor drugs are believed to have been contributing factors, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP reports that the collision occurred at around 6:50 a.m. on Dec. 8. They say the Ford Ranger driven by a 54-year-old Murrieta woman was traveling west on SR 76 when it drove into eastbound traffic and collided with the Nissan Frontier driven by a 64-year-old man from Dana Point. The drivers were freed from the wreckage by paramedics and transported to Palomar Medical Center for treatment. The woman reportedly had several facial fractures, and the man's legs were broken, according to the CHP.

Injuries suffered in head-on collisions are often particularly debilitating, given the lack of an opportunity to prepare for the sudden blunt force impact of the crash. Damage to the head, neck, back and spine are all too common in these crashes, potentially producing disabilities that change lives temporary, and in some cases, permanently. The cost of living for those who suffer these injuries is often increased when they are required to pay for necessary medical care and rehabilitation costs. Some scenarios may call for assistance for life.

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A fatal accident occurred on Aug. 9 in Azusa when a 1997 Honda Accord traveling the wrong way on the freeway ran head-on into a 1992 Nissan. The 19-year-old driver of the Nissan died at the scene. He was from El Monte, and his 16-year-old girlfriend, who suffered injuries in the wreck, was transported to County-USC Medical Center. There was no further word on the extent of the girl's injuries.

This car accident happened in the westbound lanes of the freeway around 3:30 a.m. The two occupants of the Honda left the scene on foot, but police found the individuals two hours later and took both into custody. A California Highway Patrol spokesperson reported that the 24-year-old driver of the wrong-way vehicle was suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and he was arrested.

The westbound lanes of the freeway were closed for about four hours while authorities investigated and cleaned up the accident. Documents found in the Honda led police to the suspect.

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Life is full of surprises, not all of them good. While many of us do our best to prepare for the future, take safety precautions and live a healthy lifestyle, there are forces beyond our control that can change our lives dramatically in an instant.

A serious car accident is perhaps the best example of these forces. It's important to buckle up, keep distractions to a minimum, drive more carefully in inclement weather, and maintain a safe following distance behind other cars. All of these precautions may reduce the risk of a car accident, but every driver and passenger takes a risk just by getting in a motor vehicle. Most of us don't think about this risk, though, until after an accident happens. A multivehicle crash in Brentwood, California, this week demonstrates the unpredictability of some crashes.

A 21-year-old man was driving his Subaru Outback south on Monday afternoon when he lost control of it and veered into opposing lanes of traffic. A Mercedes headed toward him was unable to avoid the wrong-way car and the two vehicles collided. Both the driver and the passenger of the Mercedes, a man and woman in their 60s, were severely injured. But the wreck didn't end there. After that impact, the Outback moved back into the proper lane, but crashed into a Trans Am. The Outback went up in flames right after that impact.

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Back in July we discussed the case of a fatal car accident in which the wrong driver was blamed for causing it. Although police eventually cleared her name by declaring that it was the deceased victim who drove into oncoming traffic, the woman who survived the crash continues to struggle with her own debilitating injuries.

The May crash on Highway 1 resulted in a confusing mess for accident investigators to untangle. When the surviving San Gregorio, California, woman awoke in a hospital bed, she had no memory of the incident. She was simply told that another woman had died and that it was her fault. It wasn't until two months later that police, acting on information provided by the surviving victim's father, recanted their accusation. An ATM receipt from a withdrawal the night of the crash proved that the woman was driving south, not north as police had assumed. That piece of evidence exonerated the woman, but it didn't lessen the serious injuries she'd suffered, nor did it take away her mounting medical bills.

The 54-year-old woman, a math and music teacher on the San Mateo County coast, continues to use a wheelchair and a walker and has not been able to return to work. It was only recently that she became well enough to start physical therapy. Meanwhile, she's been struggling to support herself and her 10-year-old daughter, relying on her own savings and loans from friends to pay the bills. With almost $1 million in medical expenses piling up, she's unsure what the future holds both physically and financially.

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The investigation is likely still ongoing to determine what exactly caused a driver to crash head-on into another vehicle. The car accident occurred on Monday in Salinas, California. Seven individuals sustained injuries and were transported to nearby hospitals for treatment.

A family of five was driving down the road when another car that was going in the opposite direction crossed into their lane, hitting them head-on. Among those injured were a 4-year-old little girl and her grandmother. California Highway Patrol and emergency responders arrived at the crash scene to help the victims and investigate the accident.

As a precautionary step, the road was closed down to make sure that no other issues such as toxic spills or fires occurred. Investigators are still trying to figure out why the car crossed into oncoming traffic. It appears that speed was not a factor, nor was the driver intoxicated at the time.

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