HWY 89 Head-On Collision Sends 5 to Hospital

A driver falls asleep on HWY 89 resulting in a head-on collision that seriously injured 5. 

Nathanial Smotrys, 18, from Garden Grove was driving his GMC Sierra on Friday at around 5:30 in the evening going northbound on Highway 89, just south of Sierraville, with one passenger.

Stephen Reikes, 54, from Livermore was driving a Chevy Silverado, in the opposite direction with two passengers in his vehicle.

The Quincy California Highway Patrol said the teen fell asleep and drove into the opposing lane.  Reikes came around a blind curve and saw the other truck in his lane.  Reikes swerved into the other lane to avoid the collision.  That’s when the teen woke up and realized his mistake and corrected his truck back into the lane that Reikes is now in. Both vehicles collided head-on, rolled, and came to rest against a rock wall on the east side of the highway.

Efforts from multiple good Samaritans and off-duty law enforcement/medical personnel assisted until Sierraville Fire arrived on the scene. The US Forest Service and Truckee Fire also responded to the scene and assisted the injured. Five of the six individuals in the collision were transported to Renown Medical Center by multiple helicopters for serious injuries.

Both directions of Highway 89 were closed for around an hour following the collision for investigation.