One dead, others hurt in weekend accidents

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By JOSHUA WOLFSON

A San Andreas woman died Sunday evening when her car hit an oak tree.

Stephanie Sprinkle, 49, suffered major injuries to her legs, chest and head and was taken by ambulance to Mark Twain St. Joseph's Hospital in San Andreas, where she died, the California Highway Patrol said.

Sprinkle was traveling south in a Buick station wagon on Highway 49 near San Andreas, when her vehicle ran off the roadway, went down an embankment and struck the tree.

She was not wearing her seat belt at the time of the accident, CHP reported.

Sprinkle's death brings the number of fatal traffic accidents in Calaveras County to nine, and the number of deaths to 13. For all of 2002, there were only five vehicle-accident deaths.

The Highway 49 accident was not the county's only serious crash over the weekend.

County Administrator Thomas E. Mitchell, 53, of Murphys, suffered a broken ankle after a head-on collision Saturday.

Robert H. Loman, 47, of Newark, was traveling west on Highway 4 east of Murphys about 4:20 p.m., when his vehicle drifted onto the gravel shoulder, the CHP said. In trying to get back on the road, Loman lost control of his 1998 Toyota pickup and veered into the eastbound lane.

He collided with Mitchell's 1999 Dodge pickup. Mitchell had braked sharply in an effort to avoid the crash, the CHP said.

Loman suffered a broken leg, fractured ribs and a concussion, and was taken by air ambulance to Doctors Medical Center of Modesto. He was listed in serious condition yesterday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Mitchell was flown to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto. He was released from the hospital, a spokeswoman said this morning.

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The Union Democrat
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