Two cars followed behind fatal wreck

Officers say friends were nearby, can’t confirm if racing a factor in crash
By: Jenifer Gee Gold Country News Service
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Officers cannot say whether or not racing preceded a car accident that killed three Sunday. California Highway Patrol spokesman Dan Stark said investigators could not say at this time whether or not the driver of the car that hit an oak tree was racing another vehicle down a curvy and narrow road in Pilot Hill. Stark confirmed Tuesday that there were bystanders already at the scene when police arrived. Stark said two cars following behind the car that slammed into an oak tree included friends who knew the passengers inside the vehicle that crashed. “There were some friends that were driving that roadway with him,” Stark said. Stark said he did not know how many bystanders were there when officers arrived. “There were two cars that stopped that were friends of the occupants of the vehicle involved in the crash but their direct relationship, whether they were witnesses or anything else, at this point we’re still trying to determine,” Stark said. When asked if the cars had been racing, Stark said, “That’s not the indication that we got.” However, Stark said officers still don’t know and cannot say definitely whether or not it was racing. He said accident investigators are still trying to determine the speed of the car that hit the tree. “We know speed is a factor and we know speed contributed to the crash,” Stark said. “At this point whether speed was a result of him driving recklessly by himself or engaged in a speed contest still has to be determined.” Stark said it could be several weeks before investigators will have a complete report about the accident and its cause ready. He said investigators wait for toxicology test results and a coroner’s report. The Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team also creates diagrams of the scene using photos from the ground and air. A mechanical investigation is conducted and witnesses or bystanders are interviews and re-interviewed to clarify their statements. Stark said it takes time to gather all of those elements so investigators can present an accurate report. “With a tragedy like this we’re going to do the most thorough job we can,” Stark said. Jenifer Gee can be reached at