Priest Grade crash

Craig Cassidy, The Union Democrat /

Emergency responders rescued an 83-year-old man Saturday afternoon who was injured when his car went off New Priest Grade and rolled 400 feet down a steep hillside.

The accident was reported at 1:58 p.m., said CHP Officer Daniel Crocker.

It happened about a quarter mile from Priest Station, which is situated at the top of the grade.

The driver, whose name was not released, was heading east up New Priest Grade, a steep winding stretch of Highway 120, about 25 to 30 mph, according to CHP Officer Steve Griefer.

The man, whose listed residence is in Murphys, told CHP officers a car heading west appeared to cross into his lane and he pulled to the right shoulder to avoid it.

He said the road's shoulder gave out and his 2010 black Mercedes sedan went over the edge.

Crocker said another driver on Old Priest Grade Road, a steeper route located across a large ravine, saw the Mercedes go off the road and called authorities.

Because a rescue helicopter was unavailable at the time, personnel from various fire agencies were called in to carry the injured man out.

Crocker said the man had initially walked away from his vehicle, heading farther down the ravine. Crocker didn't know why.

The man was taken by ambulance to Sonora Regional Medical Center for moderate injuries.

Union Democrat Photographer Maggie Beck contributed to this report.

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