Serious car accident: Two drivers were hospitalized with major injuries after one of them crossed the double-yellow lines on Highway 12/121 and crashed head-on into the other driver’s vehicle Saturday in Napa.
• A car traveling on rural Highway 12/121 suddenly crossed the double-yellow line and veered into oncoming traffic.
• The car crashed head-on into a pickup truck. The car caught fire.
• Both drivers were trapped inside of their vehicles and had to be extricated by firefighters.
• Both drivers were hospitalized with major injuries. One was airlifted to a Level II trauma center.
California Highway Patrol Sgt. Gilberto Jose said 48-year-old Ione resident Stanley Hilton was driving a Mercury Cougar southbound on Highway 12/121 when, for unknown reasons, he crossed the double-yellow lines into the oncoming traffic lane at Old Sonoma Road, near Cuttings Wharf Road.
The Cougar crashed head-on into a northbound Dodge pickup truck driven by 39-year-old Andrea Virdell of Rohnert Park, Jose said. The Cougar burst into flames. Motorists stopped and extinguished the fire, but Hilton was trapped inside the car, Jose said. Virdell also was trapped inside her vehicle. Firefighters had to extricate both drivers.
Both drivers suffered major injuries, Jose said. Hilton was airlifted by CHP helicopter to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. Virdell was taken by ground ambulance to Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa.
The exact nature and extent of their injuries was not known, Jose said.
Why Rural Highways Are Dangerous
Only 23 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, but 57 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities occur on rural roads, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The NHTSA’s latest figures show that the fatality rate per vehicle miles traveled was 2.5 times higher in rural areas than in urban areas.
A large majority of car accident deaths in rural areas — 67 percent — occur on highways, where the speed limit is 55 mph or higher. In urban areas, the opposite is true: 68 percent of all fatal crashes occur on roads where the speed limit is less than 50 mph.
Rural highways often are only two lanes, which presents significant danger to motorists who use the oncoming traffic lane to pass at high speed.
Finally, hospitals are few and far between in rural areas. The risk of dying on the way to the hospital is significantly higher in a rural accident than an urban one.
Napa Car Accident Lawyers
The trial attorneys at Blackman Legal Group, a California-based law firm founded by renowned trial attorney Clifford Blackman, have successfully represented car accident victims and their families for 35 years. The nationwide toll-free number to call for a free consultation is 1-866-692-8126.
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