Troopers investigate Mark Twain fatal

DAYTON -- Driver inattention may be to blame for a Saturday night four-car crash that claimed the life of a Dayton man, authorities said Monday.

Jonathan Wills, 22, died Sunday at Washoe Medical Center. He was critically injured Saturday about 4:10 p.m. in an accident on Highway 50 East and Mark Twain Avenue.

According to reports, Wills was the passenger in a car driven by James Campbell, 22.

Campbell was waiting in the eastbound lane to make a left turn onto Mark Twain Avenue when the vehicle was rear-ended by a 1987 Ford pickup driven by Chas R. Wassmuth, 27, of Dayton.

"It (was) 'driver inattention' on Wassmuth's part," said Trooper Blair Harkleroad as he reviewed a preliminary investigation report by the Nevada Highway Patrol.

The impact sent Campbell's 1989 Dodge Colt into the westbound lane where it struck the rear of a 2002 Ford pickup driven by Robert Leslie Collins, 56, of Reno. Campbell's car was then hit again by a westbound vehicle, a 2002 Dodge pickup, driven by William Charles Hinckley, 33, of Forestville, Calif.

Both Campbell and Wills were flown to Washoe Medical Center by Care Flight. Wills died Sunday at 12:46 p.m. Campbell was listed in critical condition Monday. His son, year-old Kyle Campbell, was treated and released Sunday from Carson-Tahoe Hospital.

With no turning lane at the intersection of Mark Twain Avenue and Highway 50 East, accidents are likely, residents say.

"If I have to make a left turn and there are people behind me, I'll go to the next block," said Terri Henry, bartender for the East 50 Bar that sits on Frontage Road at the intersection. "You just pray the person behind you is paying attention."

Lyon County ranked third in the state behind Clark and Washoe counties for the number of fatal accidents last year.

Harkleroad said investigators will forward their findings to the Lyon County District Attorney's Office.

Pending the outcome of tests, it is unknown if alcohol was a factor in the accident, Harkleroad said.


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