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7-vehicle accident in Live Oak results in minor injuries
It was a miracle only two people suffered minor injuries in a seven-vehicle accident on Thanksgiving Day along Highway 99, says the owner of a Live Oak restaurant.
"This is one thing to be grateful for," said Betty Tica of Betty's Mexican Restaurant.
Four children in one of the cars were traveling to Marysville for dinner at their grandparents and were not hurt, Tica said.
She said accidents often occur along Highway 99 near Kola Avenue and that a traffic signal or flashing lights are needed.
"We're just sick of this," Tica said. "We need some kind of help."
Tica said the vehicles along Highway 99 looked like bumper cars. Last year, a girl collected signatures on a petition for traffic improvements, Tica recounted.
Tica said Like Oak tells residents that the highway is Caltrans jurisdiction.
"Today, thank God," she said, "nobody was hurt."
Sutter County sheriff's Sgt. Greg Zembiec said seat belt use and modern safety features of cars that protect occupants helped spare drivers and passengers from serious injury in the chain-reaction accident reported at 11:55 a.m.. Little to no damage to the passenger section of most cars took place., he said.
"The most serious injury was a bruise to a wrist," Zembiec said.
Some drivers said the impact of the accident came in bunches.
"All of a sudden, I get hit," said Chico resident Bill Howard, 78. "Ten seconds, and I got hit again."
The vehicle Howard was driving was struck four times, but he was not hurt.
Gridley resident Bill Parnow, 67, said it was boom, boom, boom and boom when his vehicle was also struck four times. He said he hasn't been in the middle of anything like that in a long time — and that then the accident didn't involve as many vehicles.
"It was only three cars and we were on a race track," Parnow said of his previous multicar accident.
It's believed the accident followed a driver stopping amid holiday traffic congestion near a stoplight.
"You have that momentum," Zembiec said. "It just keeps on pushing them forward."
Chico resident Jose Ochoa, 20, a Butte College student, said he was heading toward Yuba City to visit his family when the car in front of him braked.
"It was really fast," Ochoa said of the collision that deployed the air bag on his 2001 Pontiac.
CONTACT Ryan McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4780. Find him on Facebook at /ADrmccarthy or on Twitter at @ADrmccarthy.