Fernley woman killed in wrong-way freeway crash
December 4, 2012
A Fernley woman died Saturday night after crashing into three vehicles while driving the wrong way on Interstate 80, sending a Mariposa, Calif., man to the hospital with serious injuries.
Tonya Babashoff, 41, was reported to be driving west in the east-bound lanes, 15 miles east of Fernley around 8:58 p.m. The first trooper dispatched tried to stop Babashoff, sirens and lights blazing, but was not able to and narrowly avoided a head-on collision himself, according to Trooper Chuck Allen, the public information officer for the Nevada Highway Patrol.
The trooper called for assistance and tried to get ahead of the silver Honda Civic. Portable road spikes were put down near Wadsworth, at mile marker 42, in an attempt to stop the vehicle. Babashoff drove over the spikes, although they did not completely deflate all of her tires for unknown reasons.
She continued to drive for three more miles before colliding with three vehicles.
The trooper used his vehicle’s spotlight to warn traffic of the oncoming wrong-way driver. Richard Vogel, driving a black F-150 and pulling a boat trailer, saw the oncoming car and swerved to avoid it. The Civic hit the back left of the boat trailer and slammed head-on into a Dodge Ram pickup driven by Richard Vogel’s 22-year-old brother, Justin.
Justin Vogel was flown to Reno for moderate to serious injuries.
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While the Civic and the Dodge were still in motion, a white Chevrolet Silverado pickup, driven by Barry Stickler of Elko, tried to avoid hitting the other two vehicles and hit the rear of the Civic.
Contributing factors to the crash are unknown at this time, pending a toxicology report.
Both lanes of I-80 were blocked for an hour, and then reduced to one lane until 3 a.m. Sunday, when it was reopened.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Trooper Chris Kelly at 775-689-4661 regarding case No. NHP-121200751.