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Memorial gathering to remember Newcastle woman killed after wrong-way I-80 drive, crash

Another wrong-way driver Monday but this one avoids injury at Elm-80
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A memorial gathering will be held Saturday in Newcastle for Sandra Hauser, who died Thursday in a single-vehicle crash after driving the wrong way on Interstate 80 in Auburn. Sandra Anne Hauser, who turned 25 the day before she died, is being remembered in a statement from family members as an independent, loving and kind woman whose interests ranged from animals and music to camping and riding her dirt bike on the family track. Hauser died early Thursday morning after the 1990 Acura Integra she was driving traveled the wrong way on eastbound Interstate 80 between Auburn and Highway 193. According to the California Highway Patrol, a witness saw Hauser make a u-turn on the freeway and start heading back toward Auburn. But she lost control of her vehicle and it traveled off the roadway into a rock embankment. Hauser, a Newcastle resident who had attended Auburn and Georgetown-area schools, died after she was thrown from the car. Hauser will be remembered at a memorial celebration of her life from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Portuguese Hall on Taylor Road in Newcastle. Memorial donations may be made to the Sandra Hauser Memorial Benefit Fund, in care of her sister, Casey Hauser, at any Wells Fargo Bank. Or they can give to the charity of the donor’s choice. Hauser was born March 10, 1985, in Auburn and attended Skyridge Creek, Alta Vista and E.V. Cain Schools. She graduated from Georgetown Elementary School before going on to Golden Sierra High School. After high school, she worked for seven years as a waitress at local restaurants. Hauser is survived by her father and stepmother, Tim and Joy Hauser, a sister, Casey, a stepsister, Shelly Ziegelmann, stepbrothers Scott and Keith Prawalsky, grandfather Ben L. Hauser, and grandmother, Rosalie Armbruster. Why Hauser drove the wrong way on the freeway then lost control of the vehicle after she turned around will be part of the investigation, California Highway Patrol Officer David Martinez said. The Placer County Coroner’s Office will also be conducting toxicology tests to determine whether Hauser was impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time of her death. The crash came just more than two months after Auburn student Christopher Dann, 21, drove the wrong-way along Interstate 80 from Auburn to Newcastle before crashing into a car driven by 18-year-old Jessica Faber of Truckee. Both drivers were killed in the crash. On Monday, Auburn Police and the California Highway Patrol responded to another incident involving a wrong-way driver on Interstate 80 in Auburn. This time it was in the westbound lanes near Elm Avenue and the driver was able to survive the miscue without losing her life. Martinez said an elderly female was spotted stopped in the center divide with the Chevrolet Cavalier she was driving facing the wrong way. The wrong-way driver was reported just before 10 a.m. and Auburn Police provided a traffic break to allow the vehicle to be moved to the right-hand shoulder and towed away. No other information was available at press time on Monday’s incident.