A relative of the Nye County public administrator was one of the five people killed Sunday in a fiery multi-vehicle crash about 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Ginger Stumne told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that her cousin was the driver of the pickup truck that flipped over in the crash which involved three vehicles on U.S. Highway 95 near Amargosa Valley in the county where she works.
She declined to comment further, other than to say that her family had been notified.
The crash happened about 4:25 p.m. Sunday.
The five victims were pronounced dead at the scene, and the lone survivor, who was riding in the truck with Stumne’s cousin, was airlifted to University Medical Center and is expected to survive her injuries, the Nevada Highway Patrol said.
The woman who survived has not been identified, but Jerrod Boling, a passerby who stopped to help, said that her name was Wendy. Her family could not be reached for comment.
Boling and his friend stayed on scene until first responders arrived, speaking with the woman in an attempt to keep her calm.
‘Pretty banged up’
“She was pretty banged up and she was crying,” Boling said. “She said she couldn’t feel parts of her body.”
The investigation determined that the collision happened when a northbound car attempted to pass the pickup truck on U.S. 95.
When it moved into the southbound lane to pass, it collided head-on with a car, sending it into the side of the truck.
The truck then flipped over, and the driver died at the scene.
The northbound car burst into flames, the Highway Patrol said, killing both people inside. The southbound car also had two people inside who died at the scene.
According to several passersby who tried to help the victims after the crash, it took about 35 to 45 minutes for the first responding unit to arrive at the site of the collision.
Among those witnesses was 70-year-old Henry Merideth, a retired Nevada Highway Patrol trooper who worked 27 years on the force until 2003.
Merideth started out as a trooper in Northern Nevada before relocating to Laughlin in 1994.
On Sunday, he stayed on the phone with the dispatcher until first responders arrived, providing a detailed description of the crash and extent of injuries.
“I was advising the dispatcher the whole time so they could pass it onto the responding units and medical so that they knew exactly what to expect when they arrived,” he said.
Merideth said a nurse and EMT also jumped into the fray and helped as best they could.
‘People just need to slow down’
“Once I knew the injuries were being taken care of, my decision at that time was to preserve the crime scene because I knew what the fatal team would be looking for as far as the investigation goes,” he recalled Tuesday.
“I treated it as if I rolled up as a trooper in a patrol unit,” he said.
Merideth, who now calls Beatty home, said a handful of his friends knew Stumne’s cousin and the surviving passenger in his pickup truck.
“My condolences go to her and the others,” he said.
“People just need to slow down. The thing is, taking a life isn’t worth it if all it gets you is somewhere five minutes earlier.”
The stretch of highway where the crash happened is a legal passing zone, according to Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman Travis Smaka. The NHP is investigating the crash.