Buckling up saves lives

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Seat belts saved the lives of three people involved in a mid-morning crash in Old Washoe City on Tuesday, the Nevada Highway Patrol said.

"It could have been a lot worse, but everyone had their seat belts on," said NHP Trooper Patrick McGill of the accident, in which both vehicles were destroyed but everyone walked away.

According to McGill, at 10:23 a.m. a white 1996 Saturn driven by Iretta Rock, 60, and carrying her mother Beulah P. Walton, 82, both of Sun Valley, exited the Chocolate Nugget Candy Factory in Old Washoe City to turn north onto Highway 395.

"The Saturn turned into the path of a tan 1991 Chevrolet pickup," McGill said.

Gordan A. Hawkins, 22, of Carson City, driver of the pickup, hit the left side of the Saturn and both vehicles ended up in a field on the east side of the roadway, with the Saturn upside down.

"The car the ladies were in -- after it got t-boned -- it hit a curb and flipped over on its top and landed on its top," McGill said. "Their seat belts did what they were supposed to do. They held up even when it was on its top. If they hadn't had their seat belts on they would have been ejected."

McGill said the women simply unlatched their belts and were helped from the vehicle by paramedics. Both were taken to Washoe Medical Center where one was treated for a minor gash on her forehead.

Hawkins, also seat belted, received a scratch on his finger.

"Compared to what we usually have, this story has a good ending," McGill said.

Rock will be issued a citation for failing to yield right of way, McGill said.


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