Esmeralda crash claims the lives of two locals, closing highway 11 hours


For the second time in six weeks, the region is mourning the loss of area residents killed in a traffic wreck.

In the latest crash, Feb. 8, Sarah Ann Garcia, 57, and Alvino Ramirez-Saravia, 59, died in a multi-vehicle wreck involving two trucks, an SUV, a pickup truck and a van on U.S. Highway 95/6, the Nevada Highway Patrol reports.

The collision occurred shortly before 3:20 p.m. in a road construction area between Tonopah and Coaldale Junction in Esmeralda County.

A preliminary investigation, the NHP said, indicates that:

■ a 2006 Freightliner semi truck was traveling southbound approaching traffic that was being halted by a flagger in the construction zone.

■ A 2000 Ford F-150, 2015 Toyota 4Runner, and a 2007 Chevy Express van were all stopped in the southbound lane behind the flagger and awaiting the pilot car to continue southbound.

■ A fifth vehicle, a Kenworth semi truck, was traveling northbound

“The black Freightliner failed to slow for the stopped traffic in the construction zone causing the front of the black Freightliner to strike the rear of the red Ford F-150 pickup,” the NHP said in a statement.

“The red Ford F-150 was pushed into the right rear of the white Toyota 4Runner,” the NHP statement said.

“The Ford then crossed over the centerline and hit the left side of the blue Kenworth semi truck,” the NHP added. “The (black) Freightliner continued forward and struck the right rear of the beige Chevy van.”

Garcia, who was driving the pickup truck, and the right-front seat passenger, Ramirez-Saravia, died at the scene, the NHP said.

The couple lived in the Lower Smoky Valley region, their friends said.

Among those in the other vehicles, none needed to be taken to a hospital, NHP Trooper Dan Gordon said.

Everyone in the wreck was wearing a seat belt.

NHP work continues

Other than Garcia and Ramirez-Saravia, no other names are being released. That includes the identity of the man driving the Freightliner, Gordon said.

The Freightliner driver is not in custody.

“It’s an ongoing investigation, and there may be possible charges,” Gordon said.

“The investigation process for a fatality or a fatal crash is pretty long,” Gordon said. “There’s so much involved in a crash investigation.”

“They can go anywhere from a couple of months to maybe a year,” Gordon said of the potential length of such investigations. “It’s not a quick process.”

Findings of the investigation and a recommendation for possible legal action would be forwarded to the Esmeralda County District Attorney’s Office once the investigation is completed, Gordon said.

“Then that county decides what they’re going to be charged with,” he added.

“If there are any charges, what they’ll do is they will apply for a warrant through the court,” Gordon said. “If the court finds that the warrant is justified, what they’ll do is the court will issue the warrant. Then we will pick him up and arrest him on the charges.”

Any charges would be brought by the DA’s office, Gordon said.

“We don’t have any formal charges yet, but I don’t want it to sound like we’re not pursuing,” Gordon said. “It’s all based on the investigation.”

Weather conditions were partly sunny and dry.

It is unknown whether impairment is suspected, the NHP statement said.

Witnesses or those with information on the crash are asked to contact Trooper Karen Garretson of the NHP’s Multi-Disciplinary Investigation and Reconstruction Team (M.I.R.T.) at 775-689-4625 or email kgarretson@dps.state.nv.us

People are asked to reference case #170200649.

UPCOMING

■ Arrangements, as of deadline, had not been announced for Garcia and Ramirez-Saravia. Check the Times-Bonanza for updates and more on the couple.

AT A GLANCE

■ A Dec. 28 head-on crash between a pickup truck and SUV along U.S. Highway 95 in Esmeralda County killed three and injured three others. The NHP also is investigating that crash.

Contact reporter David Jacobs at djacobs@tonopahtimes.com