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CHP: Speed likely factor in students' crash

Original post made by Sam, Stanford, on Oct 16, 2008

Chronicle Staff Writer

Thursday, October 16, 2008 Web Link

"On Wednesday, the California Highway Patrol released preliminary information of the agency's investigation into the crash that killed Sahm, Springer and Nguyen....

There were no skid marks on the pavement, only some tire friction on the dirt embankment and tracks over the berm.
There were no witnesses.

The next morning rescuers found the three men, their seat belts fastened, inside the vehicle.
They were dead.
The Jeep was "rolled up to a ball," Covello said.

The cause of death for all three was blunt force trauma.

An unsafe speed for conditions was likely a factor in the incident, Covello said, but a complete investigation is pending."

Comments (7)

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Posted by Sid
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:57 am

Very sad, I presume the recommended speed is posted before that curve, seems like the weather and visibility were good that night.

The worst experiences I have had on Route 1 was after a storm when boulders had rolled onto the pavement, there is nothing one can do to prevent that.

It is beautiful highway, best taken at a leisurely pace.

Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:35 pm

No skid marks. Wow, the driver didn't even see the curve then. It's speed only in that the driver wasn't giving himself enough time to see what the road was doing. Distracted somehow.

Hurricane Point's just south of the Bixby Bridge--they would have been climbing up from the bridge--it's fairly straight, then the point's at the top of the crest, as is the turn to the left and the descent.

They just can't have been familiar with the road. Not a good thing at night.

Like this comment
Posted by Henry
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:49 pm

There is something very strange about this crash.

The driver had been in this area for at least a year and must have driven Route 1 before as well as the Sierras.

There is something that just does not fit about this matter.

Like The Dog That Did Not Bark case

Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:51 pm


Lots of people can be in this area for a year and have driven neither in the Sierras nor down Big Sur.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike N
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 16, 2008 at 2:03 pm

As I recall the posted speed for that curve is 30 MPH.

Very surprising that there were no skid marks on the pavement, no attempt to brake.

Presuming that the vehicle was in good condition, it is only 3 yrs old and with anti lock brakes and stabilization systems.

With 2 others in the car at that time of early evening it is not likely that the driver fell asleep.

I agree with the previous poster, there is something very strange about this crash.

Like this comment
Posted by Ann
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 16, 2008 at 3:36 pm

I agree it is very odd indeed, these sorts of single car fatalities with no breaking typically occur when the driver falls asleep, naturally or because of intoxicants.

This does not seem likely in this case.

After a decent interval of mourning I am sure the inevitable litigation will cast light on what really occurred.


Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 16, 2008 at 6:32 pm

A very odd crash given the points made by other, any self destructive background in this matter?
I hope not but the question clearly needs to be asked given the very unusual facts in case.

It will of course come out in the end hopefully, but in the interests of preventing further tragedies the truth is very important.

This sounds like a issues of more than speed, the two passengers sound very responsible, one survived childhood cancer, they would not tolerate dangerous driving or DUI in IMHO, there is something else going on here I fear.

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