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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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Car accidents often result in serious injuries that can bring lasting pain, complications and even death to California residents. Understanding the major types of car accident injuries and how to prevent them can be one way to help ensure that an accident results in as little harm as possible.

Brain, head, neck and spine injuries are common in car accidents, and they are also the most problematic. Severe whiplash can result in injuries to the neck, spine, inner ears and brain that can have serious health consequences. Damage to the spine and vertebrae can easily cause pain, permanent paralysis or loss of function. Many such injuries require months or years of treatment before being fully resolved. Traumatic brain injury may result in permanent brain damage and loss of memory or function. Airbags and seat belts are the best tools currently for preventing such injuries. While airbags themselves can cause some injury, the possible injuries are much less severe than those they can help prevent.

Injuries to the lower body, such as the leg, foot and knee, are the next leading most common car accident injuries. These injuries tend to be less severe than others, but can still be serious and require extensive medical treatment. One way to prevent such injuries is to keep the legs together and not sit or lay in the car at awkward angles.

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A San Diego man was killed in a chain-reaction car accident after he attempted to pass a semi-truck on a two-lane highway on Nov. 14. The crash happened near Temecula on Highway 79 just east of Pauba Road at around 5:30 a.m.

According to the California Highway Patrol, it was rainy and dark when the man, age 67, tried to pass a tractor-trailer with his 2004 Toyota Tundra as he approached a curve in the southbound lane. He crossed the double yellow lines and crashed into a westbound 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser. The collision caused the PT Cruiser to crash into the semi's trailer and swerve into a 1999 Ford F-350 traveling west on Highway 79. A westbound 1993 Ford F-350 then hit the Tundra and the 1999 Ford.

The Tundra driver was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. His 84-year-old female passenger was transported to a local hospital with moderate injuries. The driver of the PT Cruiser, a 67-year-old Warner Springs man, suffered broken ribs, arms and ankles. The driver of the 1999 Ford, a 32-year-old Aguanga man, and the male driver of the 1993 Ford, an Anza resident, each suffered minor injuries. The 58-year-old semi driver, from Temecula, was not hurt.

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