Woman ID'd in Tuesday fatal crash

California officials are visiting the last known address of a woman who was identified through fingerprints two days after she died in a car crash in Pleasant Valley.

Washoe County coroner Vernon McCarty said the victim is a 22-year-old female believed to be visiting Reno from Sacramento. She had no identification on her and the driver of the vehicle hasn't regained consciousness since the wreck, said Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Chuck Allen.

She was the front-seat passenger in a northbound 1997 Saturn sedan on Highway 395 when it struck a guardrail on the right side of the highway and careened into the path of a southbound 1992 Chevy Blazer driven by Michele Austin, 41, of Sparks.

Saturn driver Samuel Christopher Cole, 40, of Sparks was taken by helicopter to Washoe Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition.

Another passenger, 26-year-old Shawn Stewart, of Carson City, also died in the 4:13 a.m. accident. Stewart leaves behind a fiance and a 3-year-old daughter in Carson City.

McCarty said the woman's name is being withheld pending notification of her family.

Officials said investigators found two to three grams of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in Cole's sedan. Whether he was under the influence or not will be determined by toxicology, Allen said.

The accident at Highway 395 and Andrew Lane occurred a mile from an accident Monday, at Andrew Lane, that claimed the life of Jason John Hanson, 25, of Reno.

A Carson City man, Lance Morrison, 58, was injured in that crash and was taken to Washoe Medical Center with multiple broken bones.

He was listed in fair condition. The accident is under investigation and officials are waiting for toxicology tests to see if Hanson was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Contact F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.


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