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December 4, 2012

Mariposa brothers survive I-80 crash that killed wrong-way driver

Two brothers from Mariposa were involved in a multiple-vehicle crash over the weekend that killed a wrong-way driver east of Reno, the Nevada Highway Patrol reported.

Two brothers from Mariposa were involved in a multiple-vehicle crash over the weekend that killed a wrong-way driver east of Reno, the Nevada Highway Patrol reported.

According to authorities, drivers along Interstate 80 started calling in reports of a wrong-way driver at 8:58 p.m. Saturday. A small silver sedan was going west in the eastbound lanes.

Several minutes later, a trooper saw the driver and tried to stop the car, but it kept going. The trooper got into the westbound lanes of the highway and tried to get ahead of the car.

Officers deployed road spikes, but the car did not stop after going over them. Roughly 15 minutes after the original calls, the car hit three vehicles seven miles west of Fernley.

The first of those was a Ford F-150 pickup pulling a boat trailer driven by Richard S. Vogel, 21, of Mariposa. According to police, Vogel saw the car, a silver 2003 Honda Civic, approaching and swerved into the right lane to avoid it. The Civic struck the left rear of the boat trailer before crashing head-on into the pickup right behind it, which was driven by Vogel's 22-year-old brother, Justin.

Because both vehicles were still in motion, a Chevrolet Silverado pickup heading east hit them.

The driver of the Silverado, Barry J. Strickler, 64, of Elko, and Richard Vogel were not hurt. Justin Vogel suffered moderate injuries and was taken by helicopter to a Reno hospital.

The driver of the Honda, identified as Tonya Babashoff, 41, of Fernley, died at the scene.

Investigators said they are awaiting the results of toxicology tests to know whether alcohol, drugs or prescription medication contributed to the incident.

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