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Highway 49 broadside crash in Auburn traps driver, injures two

Slick driving conditions could take a break over next few days
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A woman is lucky to be alive after her truck was broadsided by a larger vehicle today on busy, rain-slickened Highway 49 in Auburn. The accident – which left the driver of the smaller truck with moderate injuries but conscious and the other with minor injuries – came with a warning from Auburn Police. “This is the time of year when you’ve got to take extra care because it takes longer on the road to stop,” said Traffic Officer Chris Forman. The accident occurred at 2:15 p.m. on Highway 49, just south of the Elm-Fulweiler Avenue intersection. Vehicles can cross the four-lane highway there to travel from Garfield Street to Chana Drive. A woman driving a Toyota truck was attempting to cross from Garfield to Chana and was broadsided on the passenger’s door by a larger, Ford F-150. The Toyota was sent sliding onto its side for about 30 feet while the Ford ran into a wire fence before coming to rest. The woman was trapped inside the crumpled cab and removed with the Jaws of Life extrication apparatus from the toppled Toyota. She was taken away by ambulance with what Auburn Police described as moderate injuries. The man in the other truck was put in a back brace and taken to hospital. Identities of the two drivers hadn’t been released by press deadline by police who were contacting the drivers’ relatives. They were the lone occupants. The rain was messing up other people’s day too – albeit on a more minor scale. After nine straight days of rain, Chana High School student Kaleigh O’Gorman was ready for a change today. “It’s bad because we can’t do anything and it messes up our hair,” O’Gorman said. “We miss the sunshine.” The 15-year-old Auburn student had sought shelter under a downtown awning while waiting for a ride. The rain had started Jan. 17 and, with a few breaks between storms, was continuing to make life outside miserable for foothills residents. “It seems kind of old,” said Shantell Werner, as she stood with O’Gorman under the awning. There’s good news ahead for Werner, O’Gorman and others who are looking for a break in the rainy weather. The National Weather Service is forecasting rain and snow into Tuesday but then a relatively dry spell through Saturday. The latest storm includes from 10 to 20 inches of new snow for the Sierra. Holly Osborne, meteorologist with the Sacramento weather bureau office, said a high pressure system moving into the foothills Tuesday should keep the rain away. There’s even a chance of some sunlight peeking through the cloud cover on Wednesday and Thursday, she said. A weak system will bring some rain back to the foothills on Friday and Saturday. Daytime high temperatures should be in the high 40s during that time and snow levels will hover around 4,500 to 5,500 feet. Osborne, whose business is weather, said she enjoys whatever nature throws at the region. “It’s always changing and something different,” Osborne said. “It’s like doing a new puzzle every day.” --------------------------------- Fast facts: Get a grip driving tips - Stopping on a slippery surface requires more distance so increase your following distance. Focus your attention as far ahead as possible - You should use the “plant and steer” method with antilock brake systems. Do not remove your foot from the brake or pump the pedal. If you apply pressure and wheels lock momentarily, you might feel the brake pedal pulse back against your foot. This is normal. Just hold the brake pedal down and steer. - To maximize your driving safety, be aware of the road conditions, reduce speed appropriately and be prepared for challenging situations in wet conditions. Information from: AAA