SILVER SPRINGS -- Two men and a woman were killed Tuesday in a predawn head-on collision on Highway 50 East.
The Nevada Highway Patrol said a car heading eastbound by Danny James Moreno, 23, of Carson City, crossed the center line about 3:30 p.m. and hit an oncoming vehicle driven by Ileta "Pepper" Shinn, 79, of Silver Springs at mile marker 21 between Cheyenne and Apache roads in Stagecoach outside of Silver Springs.
Both drivers were killed, as was Shinn's passenger, Paul Charbonneau, 70, of Silver Springs, who was in the back seat and folding newspapers for delivery. Shinn and Charbonneau delivered the Nevada Appeal in the Silver Springs area.
"Moreno was on Highway 50 and turned off onto Cheyenne Road, (made a U-turn) and came back onto the highway, almost smashing into a semi truck," Highway Patrol Trooper Mark Zacha said.
Zacha said truck driver Carlos Neves of Chino was on the phone with police reporting Moreno's erratic driving when the collision happened.
"He watched the whole thing," Zacha said.
Moments before the accident, a Highway Patrol dispatcher had alerted police of Moreno's car description and erratic driving.
"Dispatch tried to put a call out to get this guy located, and Lyon County was already looking for the kid," he said.
Zacha said its unknown if alcohol was involved. The Highway Patrol is investigating the accident.
Charbonneau had worked as a carrier for the Nevada Appeal since 1997, said Laurie Hancock, newspaper call center manager.
He escaped serious injury in an October accident when a boat he was towing to Lahontan Reservoir overturned his truck.
Following the death of Charbonneau's wife, Simone, to colon cancer in 2000, his daughter JoAnne Pearson and son-in-law Joe Pearson and granddaughter Renee Gadoury,18, moved from Massachusetts to be with him.
The Pearsons began a paper route of their own here.
Tuesday morning, JoAnne Pearson said she twice drove past the wreckage of her father's car on the highway and didn't recognize it. It wasn't until police came to her home later that morning that she heard the news, Joe Pearson said.
Pearson said Charbonneau had offered Shinn the chance to earn extra money for Christmas by driving him on his route until he had cataract surgery.
"She was just driving for him for a couple days 'til he had the surgery for his eyes," Pearson said. Shinn would have been 80 in January.
"Paul loved fishing," said Pearson who spent hours spent countless hours fishing at Lahontan with Charbonneau.
"How many guys do you know that have a Jacuzzi in the garage filled with (bait)? It's a six-person Jacuzzi, set up like a giant aquarium," Pearson said. "He'd go out there every morning and feed them and keep them alive, 'cause he was getting ready to go fishing again."
JoAnne Pearson said her father was the kind of man you'd move across the county for.
"He was ecstatic when we moved out here. He got a new lease on life," she said. The move also gave her daughter time to get to know her grandfather.
With the loss of both parents so close together, JoAnne says she feels lost.
"But I'll just keep going," she said. "If I start mulling over this, it's gonna be worse. I'll miss him, but (my parents are) together now."