More information is now available on three local accidents that occurred last month on February 18 and 21.
The Saturday, Feb. 18, accident reportedly happened just before midnight. The crash occurred near Horse Creek on Highway 198 and involved an unidentified westbound driver whose vehicle left the roadway and crashed into a boulder. The California Highway Patrol was not notified of the accident so apparently the vehicle was removed by the motorist.
At 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21, a 2003 Ford compact was southbound on South Fork Drive when it veered off the road and crashed through a barbed wire fence and struck several rocks and a bridge abutment before coming to a stop in the river bottom near the steel bridge, located four miles from Highway 198. The driver did not remain at the scene.
A passing motorist notified the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, who dispatched a swift water rescue team to search the river for the driver. At 7:50 the next morning, the CHP received a call about the accident and identified the vehicle’s owner as William Gibbons Sr., 36, of Visalia.
According to a CHP report, Gibbons told the officers that he lost control of his vehicle and veered down the embankment but was uninjured so he extricated himself and crawled out from the river bed. The car had major damage and was later towed from the scene by the CHP. Gibbons was not cited.
A separate accident occurred later that same day 1.75 miles west of Horse Creek Bridge on Highway 198 at Lake Kaweah. That mishap involved 2011 BMW and a 2012 Lexus, both heading westbound on Highway 198. The driver of the BMW, Daniel Lara, 22, of Woodlake was parked on the shoulder. He attempted to make a U-turn and pulled out in front of the oncoming Lexus.
The driver of the Lexus was Stevie Sweeney, 20, also of Woodlake. Sweeney’s vehicle collided with Lara’s, causing major damage to both vehicles. Lara, his passenger, and Sweeney all suffered minor injuries.
Sweeney was transported via ambulance to Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia where she was treated for a head wound. The cause of the accident was Lara’s unsafe turn. He was not cited.