An under-inflated rear tire and driver error are to blame for an accident in Washoe Valley that sent nine people to the hospital and claimed the life of an unborn child, authorities said Friday.
"The investigator said the cause of the accident was 99 percent driver error," said Trooper Chuck Allen of the Nevada Highway Patrol. "The driver heard the tire lose its tread and if she had just slowed down and come to a stop, she wouldn't have rolled."
The accident happened about 12:15 p.m. Thursday as driver Eugenia Lopez, 34, was southbound three miles from Carson City on Highway 395 when the rear tire tread began separating, Trooper Todd Hartline said.
The 1990 Ford Aerostar van swerved into the dirt median, rotated clockwise and then overturned several times. Five children and three of the adult passengers were thrown from the wreckage. Only the right front passenger, who was wearing a seatbelt, remained in the eight-seater van, he said.
All of the patients were listed in stable condition Friday.
Lopez's unborn child didn't survive. She was six months pregnant.
Hartline said the victims, all from Carson City, are:
-- Lopez, 34. She was taken by helicopter to Washoe Medical Center and sustained moderate injuries.
-- Right front passenger Olimpia Chacon-Ayala, 43. She was taken by helicopter to Washoe Medical Center and sustained moderate injuries.
-- Maria Delgado, 28, was seated in the second row, middle seat. She was taken by helicopter to Washoe Medical Center and also sustained moderate injuries.
-- Claudia Pacheco, 17, was sitting in the second row of the van. Pacheco was not wearing her seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle. She was taken by helicopter to Washoe Medical Center and sustained moderate injuries.
The Highway Patrol declined to release the names of the children or the extent of their injuries.
Their ages and sex are: An 11-month-old boy, a 1-year-old boy, a 2-year-old girl, a 6-year-old girl and a 7-year-old girl.
Contact F.T. Norton at email@example.com or 881-1213.