Wednesday, Aug. 26, was a bad day on Hill roads with five collisions that produced four injuries, two of them serious.
In Idyllwild, in Strawberry Valley Shopping Center, Jonathan Atchinson, 36, of Banning, driving a county vehicle, a 2005 Ford Taurus, backed out of a parking spot in front of the Idyllwild Library striking Idyllwild resident Betsy Whitman, 77. Mrs. Whitman is the mother of Bill Whitman, Idyllwild attorney and physical therapist. The incident occurred at 9:20 a.m.
Mrs. Whitman suffered injuries that required medical transport and surgery in Palm Springs. “Surgery on the arm was performed on Thursday morning [Aug. 27, for a wrist fracture],” said Bill Whitman. “The pelvis suffered multiple fractures.” Surgery to repair the pelvic fracture was performed at Desert Regional Medical Center on Monday, Aug. 31. “Given the circumstances, she is holding up well,” said Whitman.
In a second injury collision, at 4:55 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, Yolanda Bass, 62, of Indio was driving a 2007 Ford Focus eastbound on Highway 74 near mile post 89, between Vista Point and Big Horn, when for unknown reasons she crossed into the opposing lane of traffic and collided head-on with a 2005 Nissan Altima driven westbound by a 17-year-old female with a 16-year-old passenger. Bass’ vehicle overturned.
She was trapped inside until 5:42 p.m. when she could be extricated. She suffered moderate to serious injuries and was transported by air ambulance to an area hospital. The two juveniles in the other car suffered minor injuries and were transported by ground ambulance. The collision is under investigation. If anyone witnessed the collision and can provide further information, contact Indio’s California Highway Patrol at 760-772-8911.
At 11 a.m., John Hoag, 80, of Palm Desert, was driving a 2008 Subaru Forester eastbound on Highway 74, half a mile west of Palm Canyon Drive, when he went off the road and hit the mountain. He was not injured and no other vehicles were involved.
At 8 p.m., Shawn Daisey, 48, of Hatboro, Pennsylvania, was driving eastbound on Highway 74, 1 mile west of Carrizo Road in a rented 2015 Cadillac when, according to the CHP report, he “saw something brown and short” running across the road. He swerved to avoid the animal and ran into the mountain. He was not injured and was able to drive the car away from the collision. No other vehicles were involved.
Also on Aug. 26, at 10:20 p.m., Warren Osher, 57, of San Diego, was driving eastbound on Highway 74 in a 2001 Chrysler sedan when he skidded on gravel on a curve and collided with the mountain. The non-injury collision occurred a half mile west of Carrizo Road in Pinyon.