Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

A single-vehicle accident occurred Saturday, Oct. 27, on Highway 198 near the entrance to Slick Rock Recreation Area.

Speed a factor in two crashes

By: 
John Elliott

 

Two recent solo vehicle crashes where the vehicles left the roadway resulted in major damage to both cars. In one of the accidents, the driver received serious injuries. 
 
The first crash was near Cinnamon Canyon sometime during the night of October 21 and 22. The accident occurred when Casey Hailey, 45, of Three Rivers, was driving a 2004 Nissan Xterra northbound on South Fork Drive and swerved across the center line.
 
The Nissan left the roadway and struck a rock. Hailey decided to leave the scene and continue to his home, planning to report the accident in the morning, he later told the reporting officer. The vehicle was not drivable and when the CHP arrived to investigate the accident, Hailey said he had swerved to avoid a deer. 
 
Hailey suffered a laceration to the head but did not appear to be seriously injured. The accident report stated that alcohol or drugs did not factor in the crash but that it was probable that the motorist was driving faster than what was reported. 
 
Hailey was not cited but was listed “at fault” in the CHP accident report.
 
A second crash occurred Saturday, Oct. 27, near the Slick Rock Recreation Area at Lake Kaweah. The accident was reported to the emergency dispatcher at 4:35 p.m. 
 
In this crash, Michael Pewteja, 21, of Exeter, was driving a 2003 Honda Civic westbound when he over-corrected, swerved, and crossed the centerline. The vehicle left the roadway and crashed into an embankment. 
 
A CHP officer at the scene estimated that Pewteja was traveling at 65 to 75 mph when the crash occurred. 
 
Unconfirmed reports stated Pewteja was pulled from the wreckage by a passing motorist. After being examined at the scene, Pewteja was airlifted via the SkyLife helicopter to Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia.
 
Pewteja suffered severe injuries; his left side was paralyzed indicating he may have suffered spinal trauma. He was also cited for DUI and faces multiple charges stemming from the crash. 
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