Three injured in crash near Moccasin

By Margie Thompson, The Union Democrat, @margielou

Three drivers were injured in a traffic accident Saturday near Moccasin involving the use of a cell phone, according to authorities.

California Highway Patrol said Pamela Cassaretto, 41, of Groveland, was using her cell phone and was distracted from the road when her 2005 Toyota Corolla crashed into the rear of 2000 Chevrolet Metro driven by James Atkins, 27, of Moccasin.

Atkins was stopped in the westbound lane of Highway 120 where it intersects with Highway 49 waiting for traffic to clear, while Cassaretto was driving west on Highway 120 at about 55 mph while holding and looking at her cell phone, according to CHP.

A CHP incident report stated that Atkins saw Cassaretto's car quickly approaching in his rear view mirror, so he tried to accelerate forward but was rear-ended by the Corolla.

The force of the collision pushed Atkins' car in the eastbound lane of Highway 120, where the front end of his vehicle struck the front of a 2004 Volkswagen GTI driven by Hannah Herbert, 20, of San Francisco, CHP said.

All three vehicles sustained major or total damage, CHP said.

Atkins suffered major injuries and was transported by helicopter to Memorial Medical Center of Modesto. His condition at the hospital was not available Sunday night.

Meanwhile, Cassaretto and Herbert were taken by ambulance to Sonora Regional Medical Center with moderate injuries. Herbert's passenger, Charles Sauer, 25, of Yosemite National Park, suffered minor injuries but declined transportation to the hospital.

CHP noted that drugs or alcohol are not believed to be a factor in the collision.

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The Union Democrat
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