Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Indiana woman identified as victim of fatal Friday crash

LAKE COUNTY – An Indiana woman who was traveling with her family to the Sacramento airport to fly home was the victim of a fatal two-car collision outside of Nice on Friday.

The California Highway Patrol reported Saturday that the investigation is continuing into the cause of the crash, which claimed the life of the 65-year-old woman from Noblesville, Ind., and injured six of her family members when they were hit head-on by another vehicle driven by a local woman.

The CHP did not release the crash victim's name, however, a neighbor from Indiana confirmed to Lake County News that the person in question was Sandra K. Thomas.

She and her husband, James G. Thomas, 64, were returning home to Noblesville, located north of Indianapolis, according to family and friends.

The Thomases were riding with their daughter, 33-year-old Sarah Noguera of Ukiah, and her husband, Adonis Noguera, 37, in the Nogueras' 2001 Ford Escape.

The CHP said Sarah Noguera was driving, James Thomas was sitting in the front passenger seat, with the Nogueras' 5-year-old daughter riding in the right rear passenger seat, Sandra Thomas sitting in the center of the rear passenger seat, the Nogueras' 4-year-old son in the left rear passenger seat and Adonis Noguera seated in the vehicle's cargo compartment.

The CHP said Sarah Noguera was traveling at an undetermined speed eastbound on Highway 20, west of Bartlett Springs Road at the Tulip Hill Winery, when the collision occurred at 2:35 p.m. Friday. Conditions at the time of the crash were clear and dry.

Driving westbound in a 2005 Dodge Caravan was Maria Felix Prado, 47, of Clearlake, according to the CHP.

The CHP said Prado, who also was driving at a speed investigators haven't determined, went off the roadway's north edge and up an embankment before veering back to the left and traveling back onto the roadway, where it entered the eastbound lane.

Prado's minivan hit the Nogueras' vehicle head-on, causing major damage to the vehicles, both of which came to rest off the highway's south edge, the CHP reported.

The front of Prado's minivan was caved in following the crash, but the CHP said she was able to get out of her vehicle unaided.

Adonis Noguera was able to get out of the Escape, the CHP said; he also was able to take his two young children out of the wreckage.

Sandra Thomas, who the CHP said was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, was declared dead at the scene by deputy coroner Sgt. Gary Basor of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Northshore Fire paramedics had to extricate Sarah Noguera and James Thomas, both of whom where driven by ambulance to nearby Ceago Vinegarden, where REACH Air Ambulance picked them up for transport. Both were taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with major injuries, the CHP reported.

Cal-Star Air Ambulance transported the Nogueras' 4-year-old son to Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland for treatment of major injuries, according to the report. Adonis Noguera and his 5-year-old daughter were taken by Northshore Fire ambulance to Sutter Lakeside Hospital in Lakeport with moderate injuries.

The CHP said Prado was treated and released at the scene, and a CHP officer later transported her to St. Helena Hospital Clearlake as a precaution for minor injuries.

CHP Officer Jake Bushey is leading the investigation into the incident.

Alcohol and drugs aren't considered contributing factors to the crash, the CHP said.

Both vehicles had extensive damage and were retained by the CHP pending comprehensive inspections.

The roadway remained closed between the Nice-Lucerne Cutoff and Foothill Drive in Lucerne for two hours and 40 minutes, reopening to one-way traffic at 5:30 p.m. with both lanes reopened at 6 p.m., the CHP said.

During that time, emergency personnel tended to the injured, investigators reviewed the scene and tow companies removed the vehicles.

In addition to the CHP, Lake County Sheriff's Office and Northshore Fire, Caltrans and the California Department of Fish and Game also were involved in handling the scene.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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