1 dead after early morning crash closes Hwy 50 in Churchill County
One motorist was killed and another has life-threatening injuries as a result of a three-vehicle crash Tuesday morning at the intersection of Sheckler Cut-off and U.S. Highway 50 (Reno Highway), reports the Nevada Highway Patrol.
NHP spokesperson officer Hannah DeGoey said the crash involved two automobiles and a dry bulk cement semi-truck/trailer, which was later determined to be empty. She said the NHP has not released the name of the deceased driver. Banner Churchill Community Hospital (BCCH) paramedics responded to the scene before Care Flight was called. Care Flight landed on U.S. Highway 50 to transport the driver of one vehicle to a Reno trauma center. DeGoey said the other driver walked away uninjured from the crash.
Because of downed power lines, she said U.S. Highway 50 will be closed until 6 p.m. or longer. Some power poles will need to be replaced and lines restrung over the highway before the main route to Reno will be reopened. NV Energy reports at least 2,550 customers were without power.
The Churchill County School District said Northside Early Learning Center and the transportation office now have power. Oasis Academy cancelled classes and Western Nevada College’s Fallon campus was to resume classes at 1 p.m. In the meantime, the NHP, along with help from the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office and the Nevada Department of Transportation, is redirecting traffic on Lucas Road.
According to DeGoey, a Multi-disciplinary Investigation and Reconstruction Team (MIRT) arrived on scene to determine the exact cause of the crash, which occurred during the morning commute at about 7:37 a.m. She said one of the vehicles involved in the crash struck a gas main, and the continuation of the crash slammed into a power pole. According to a preliminary report, a mini-van was traveling west when it pulled out in front of the cement truck. The driver of the truck tried to avoid the minivan, but he hit the minivan and then a sedan.
Fallon Churchill Volunteer Fire Department responded to the crash with at least three engines, two brush trucks and a water tender. More than 20 firefighters were on the scene. Initially, before the NHP learned of the empty truck, troopers were concerned that the truck could explode because of the gas leak.