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Rollover crash claims young life

Victim was breathing with eyes half open after crash, Good Samaritan says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal staff writer
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An Interstate 80 crash claimed the life of a Truckee woman east of the Bowman Road exit Wednesday evening. Jennifer McQuade, 32 of Truckee, was driving a red 1991 Jeep Cherokee westbound on Interstate 80 at 6:20 p.m. when, for unknown reasons, she began weaving back and forth in her lane. She corrected several times before losing control. McQuade rolled over a number of times and was ejected from her vehicle. The vehicle came to rest hanging over the freeway’s center divider, according to Officer Dave Montijo of the California Highway Patrol. McQuade was pronounced dead at the scene, Montijo said. Ryan Malmberg of Rocklin, who was one of several motorists to stop at the scene and offer assistance to emergency officials, said McQuade was still alive immediately after the crash. “I was behind her about 100 feet," Malmberg said. "It looked like she drifted over toward the fast lane and over corrected worse and worse. There was all kinds of stuff flying out of her vehicle. I was the first one to the truck and there were two guys right behind me.” Malmberg said he spotted McQuade on the ground after he was unable to find her in the vehicle. “I had no idea she had been ejected,” he said. “All you saw was clothing and stuff, not a person. I started freaking out because I couldn’t find her. I looked back and I saw her shirt blowing. I just started talking to her, and when I started talking to her she started breathing harder.” Emergency responders were on the scene almost immediately, Malmberg said. “The ambulance came,” he said. “They were on the eastbound side of the freeway, so they had to turn around. More people got there and the helicopter probably touched down 10 minutes after the crash. I asked the paramedic if she would be all right and he said no.” Montijo said the death could have been avoided. “It appears she possibly would have survived if she had been wearing her seat belt,” Montijo said. “Seat belts save lives. We can’t stress that enough. If you are not wearing your seat belt and you are involved in a rollover accident, there is a good possibility you are going to suffer major injuries or even death.” No one else was hurt during the accident, Montijo said. The crash is still under investigation. Malmberg said he was shocked other motorists avoided the crash. “It was pretty amazing no one got hit,” he said. “I feel sad for the family, terrible for her.” Any witnesses or those who knew McQuade personally can call the Journal at (530) 852-0235 or e-mail Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com.