YC men injured in head-on
Two vehicles crashed head-on Tuesday on a stretch of Highway 99 that was once known as "Blood Alley."
The accident happened at 5:45 p.m. near Oak Avenue, about 15 miles south of Yuba City.
A black Chevrolet S10 pickup truck driven by Herbert E. Ramos, 29, was headed south when it collided with a northbound purple Honda Accord driven by Trang T. Nguyen, 33.
Both drivers were from Yuba City, the California Highway Patrol said.
It was unclear how the accident occurred because statements from witnesses conflicted with physical evidence, said CHP Officer Scott Bassett.
Both drivers were trapped and had to be removed by firefighters.
Ramos was taken by air ambulance to Sutter Roseville Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition late Tuesday.
Nguyen was driven to UC Davis
Medical Center in Sacramento, said Sutter County Fire Department Chief Chuck Vanevenhoven. He was listed in serious but stable condition.
Ramos was flown to the medical center about 40 minutes after firefighters began freeing him from his truck.
"That's about 10 minutes longer than what we'd like to normally do," Vanevenhoven said.
Ramos drifted in and out of consciousness, Bassett said. Nguyen sustained leg injuries and was conscious, he added.
Four fire engines responded to the crash, each with extraction equipment. "And we used it all," Vanevenhoven said.
"We had enough resources to do simultaneous extraction. If there had been passengers, we wouldn't have had enough."
No passengers and only two vehicles were involved in the accident.
Rush-hour traffic was stop-and--go for more than an hour while firefighters freed the victims and other emergency personnel cleaned the crash site.
Bassett said accidents like Tuesday's are now rare on this section of Highway 99 near Oak Avenue, which was known as "Blood Alley."
Since the road was widened from two lanes to four, accidents have dropped dramatically, he said.
"The problem disappeared. Head-ons are rare now," he said.
Speed, alcohol and drugs did not appear to be issues in the crash, the officer said.
Bassett said he was surprised only two people came forward claiming to have witnessed the accident.
"I'd like to have other witnesses, if anyone saw anything," Bassett said.
Witnesses can call 674-5141 to report information.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Eve Hightower can be reached at 749-4724. You may e-mail her at email@example.com.