Man claimed sneeze caused accident that preceded fatal crash
A “sneezing fit” caused a Reno man to roll his truck hours before he was in a separate accident in which a woman was killed and her husband injured in the Virginia Foothills, Reno police said Friday.
According to Sgt. Tom Robinson of the Reno Police Department, driver John Hyde, 39, told police a sneeze caused him to run off the road on McCarran Boulevard and East Manzanita Drive about 4:44 p.m. Wednesday.
Hyde’s 1997 Subaru struck a rock embankment and rolled once before resting on its wheels.
Later that evening, Washoe County deputies say, Hyde was southbound on Toll Road in a borrowed Toyota truck when he crossed the lanes and struck Kelly and Darin Berry from behind as they walked along the shoulder.
Kelly Berry, 21, died at the scene. Darin Berry, 25, suffered leg injuries and was taken to Washoe Medical Center.
Dawn Andone, 36, of Sparks, said she was following Hyde when the McCarran accident happened.
“All I saw was that his car suddenly veered off the road,” Andone said Friday.
In her report to police, Andone said Hyde stepped from the vehicle and appeared to have no injuries.
“He looked absolutely fine to me. I talked to him. He told police he sneezed. He was having allergy problems because he was sneezing as he stood there,” she said. The only injury she believed he’d sustained was from banging his nose, she said.
She said Hyde told her he was on his way home and didn’t appear to be impaired. She said she could smell no alcohol on him.
“I would know,” she said. “I was close enough to him. I looked in his eyes.”
Now, she said, she grapples with guilt after she learned Hyde was the driver in the accident that claimed the life of Kelly Berry.
“I feel like if I had done something different … ” she said, her voice trailing off. “I feel so bad.”
Robinson said Hyde was taken by ambulance to Washoe Medical Center following the McCarran Boulevard accident and Hyde’s father picked him up from the hospital about 6:30 p.m. He said the damage to the Subaru made it “un-driveable.”
The Storey County Fire Department has set up an account to help offset medical and funeral costs.
The Darin L. Berry Medical Fund Trust is at Bank of America, account No. 004967322144.
Kelly Berry, a 2001 graduate of the University Nevada, Reno with a degree in criminal justice, worked for the Washoe County courts.
She and Darin were married April 19 in Las Vegas and had just bought their home in the Virginia Foothills. The couple met while attending UNR.
Darin Berry was listed in stable condition at Washoe Medical Center. Hyde was treated and released from Washoe Medical Center on Wednesday.
The Toll Road accident remains under investigation.