The busy visitor season always brings more traffic accidents. And this week, there was a flurry of them.
On Wednesday, April 29, two motorcyclists were riding westbound on Highway 180 after exiting Kings Canyon National Park. When the lead motorcyclist realized the other rider was no longer following, he returned to the entrance station and asked a park ranger if anyone had seen the other rider.
After heading back westbound, the motorcyclist noticed skid marks leaving the south shoulder of the highway, approximately one mile from the entrance station.
When the rider stopped and looked down the embankment, he could see the crashed motorcyclist and his 1986 Honda CDR approximately 60 feet below the roadway. Emergency personnel were summoned at 3:50 p.m.
After examining the 46-year-old Fresno motorcyclist at the scene, he was pronounced dead.
In a separate accident on Friday, May 1, that occurred on Sierra Drive between Salt Creek Road and Deer Canyon Estates, Dalton Fronterhouse, 25, of Three Rivers walked away from a rollover crash. He reported that as he was driving his 1996 Mitsubishi Mirage eastbound, something caught his eye on the sign for St. Anthony Retreat. By the time he realized he had crossed the center line, it was too late to correct the vehicle’s course.
Fronterhouse careened off the river side of the road, rolling over at least three times before coming to a stop 40 feet below the roadway on a steep embankment.
Lucky to be alive, Fronterhouse crawled out of the vehicle and back up to the roadway. Passing motorists stopped and neighbors converged on the scene to help.
“It was really strange to experience that vehicle rolling over,” Dalton said at the scene. “Everything seemed to be going in slow motion.”
The Mitsubishi was a total loss and had to be pulled up the embankment with a steel cable from a power winch mounted on a Valero Bros. tow truck.
Details are incomplete concerning another serious accident that occurred Sunday evening, May 3, near the Lemon Hill boat ramp at Lake Kaweah that involved three vehicles. In that incident, Jose Rayo 18, of Visalia, driving a 2005 Nissan Titan pickup, apparently swerved to avoid hitting a 2007 GMC pickup driven by Trevor Vanderham, 23, of Hart, Texas, that was exiting the Lemon Hill parking lot.
Rayo’s vehicle reportedly exited the roadway and rolled over. His truck was badly damaged; the victim’s condition was not immediately known.
More details and the official cause of the accident will be reported when the CHP’s investigation is completed.