Fatal crash victims identified

By Union Democrat staff April 12, 2013 05:04 pm

The California Highway Patrol on Friday released the names of the two people killed in Thursday's fiery head-on crash west of Sonora.

The driver was identified as Edward Stanton, 83, and the passenger as Jacqueline Stanton, 82, both of El Dorado. 

About 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the Stantons were heading north on Highway 49 in a white 1995 Buick Roadmaster about 45 to 50 mph. A blue 2005 Toyota Tacoma pickup was heading south about 50 to 55 mph and, for unknown reasons, swerved into the northbound lane.

The Tacoma collided with the front-end driver's side of the Buick north of Fraguero Road at Portagee Lane. It came to a rest blocking both lanes of traffic and the smoking, mangled sedan was partially shoved onto an embankment. 

The car then burst into flames, witnesses said.

Bystanders tried to put out the blaze with a hose and fire extinguishers, but the Stantons were pronounced dead at the scene.

The truck's driver, Laura Zahm, 57, of Jamestown, suffered major injuries and was airlifted to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto. She was in critical condition Friday afternoon.

Her passenger, Lucas Miller, 18, of Sonora, was taken to Sonora Regional Medical Center with minor injuries. He was treated and released Thursday. 

The accident is still under investigation, the CHP said.

Everyone was wearing seat belts, according to the CHP.