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Police: Street racing a factor in Salmon Falls accident

By: Colin Berr Journal Staff Writer
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Police have confirmed that drifting and speed were a part of the fatal November accident on Salmon Falls Road near Pilot Hill. “Drifting is considered a form of street racing,” said Officer Dan Stark with the Placerville California Highway Patrol. “Although there didn’t appear to be a second car involved in the accident, drifting was certainly a factor.” The finalized report recommends three counts of vehicular manslaughter against driver Mark Barrera. The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the case and said that the report is still under investigation and charges have not yet been filed. The accident, which claimed the lives of three teens in November, is not the first to beset Salmon Falls Road. Resident Margo Farrelly said she remembers the accident and several other collisions on the road. She’s had to replace her fence eight times after motorcyclists lost control on the road and slid into her front yard. “I’ve seen some pretty horrible accidents just in our little stretch,” Farrelly said this week. The fatal collision and traffic complaints led to a brief crackdown by highway patrol officers in early March, who handed out more than 80 citations over a single weekend. “Most cases of street-racing occur with teen drivers, boys mainly” said Erin O’Ray of E-Z Way Driving School. “Teens want to push their cars to the limit, to show off and impress their friends. For adults, it’s not as big of an issue.” O’Ray went on to say that while the E-Z Way general permit courses touch on speed racing, the topic is covered more extensively in the CHP Start Smart Program. “Unfortunately, online courses tend to gloss over it,” O’Ray said. Street-racing is considered a serious violation and can lead to two to three points on a driver’s record, the only type that matches a DUI offense. Reach Colin Berr at colinb@goldcountrymedia.com.