Four Killed, Five Injured in an Apple Hill Crash on Hwy 50
In a crash on Highway 50 near Braeburn Lane at about 6:05 p.m. on Saturday night a westbound Toyota Prius veered into the path of a minivan driving east on the highway, colliding with the van.
A westbound Prius, carrying a family from Oakland, veered from the slow lane into oncoming traffic and slammed broadside into an eastbound minivan, which was traveling in the slow lane in the opposite direction.
Three of the four occupants of the Prius were killed – a husband, wife and their 8-year-old son. A 10-year-old daughter, the only survivor in that vehicle, was hospitalized with severe injuries.
The other car carried a family of five from Pollock Pines, the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office reported. One member of the family, a 4-year-old girl, was killed. Her mother and father were injured. Of the five people in the minivan two 1-year-old twins were unharmed, CHP Sgt. Gilbert Lee confirmed.
The people in the minivan are from Pollock Pines. The sheriff's said 4-year-old Nora Elizabeth was killed. The four others were identified as 35-year-old Danielle Marie Temple who was driving; Will John Temple, 51, and two 1-year-old twins, John Maxwell and John James Temple.
The family in the Prius was from Oakland. The El Dorado County Sheriff's Department Deputies identified the dead inside the Prius as Sheng Kun Su, 38, his 39-year-old wife Shue Zhen Zhao and their 8-year-old son Shawn Su. Another Su child, 10-year-old Elly Su, survived. Elly Su has been released from the hospital to the care of other Bay Area family members, according to reports.
"It was an accident with no witnesses, so it's taking time to get the information together," said Sgt. Jim Byers of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department. "There are also significant language issues with the family of the people from outside our area."
The Bay Area family was traveling west in a Toyota Prius shortly after 6 p.m. when their vehicle suddenly crossed the center stripe and slammed "broadside" into a minivan headed east.
Parts of the road were closed after investigators say a Prius and minivan slammed into each other just after 6 p.m. Friday on Highway 50 in Camino, east of Placerville.
CHP officials said the crash investigation is ongoing. Excessive speed does not appear to be a factor, they said.
The crash occurred on a part of the highway designated three years ago for safety upgrades. Those upgrades, most likely a concrete median divider and underpass for local traffic, have been stalled by lack of funding, state and local officials said.
The area of the highway near the crash is intersected by numerous local roads and driveways, adding to the danger of that section of roadway, but making it more difficult to add median barriers without blocking local traffic, officials said.
A 2009 El Dorado County Transportation Commission study concluded the area nevertheless should have safety upgrades.
"The study identified safety concerns for vehicles entering or exiting U.S. 50 in that area, the intermingling of local and visitor traffic," said Dan Bolster, a planner with the El Dorado County Transportation Commission. "The most common type of collision is a broadside collision."
Bolster said the study did not determine what safety steps should be taken, but identified a median barrier for several miles between Still Meadow Road and upper Carson Road as a likely addition. That likely would require construction of an underpass in the Camino Heights area to allow local traffic to travel between the north and south sides of the highway, he said.
The state and county are looking for funding to conduct an environmental review of the project, Bolster said.