Six lives lost

June 23, 2003 12:00 am

By JOSHUA WOLFSON

and AMY LINDBLOM

Six people died in accidents in Tuolumne County this weekend, including a vehicle wreck that took four lives.

About 3:50 p.m. yesterday, while returning from a family camping trip in Yosemite, Sandeep Ramanathan, 35, was driving westbound on Highway 120, east of Cherry Lake Road, going 45 to 55 mph. His 1999 BMW 323 veered to the right, swerved back to the left, then back to the right before going off the road, according to a California Highway Patrol report. The CHP does not know what caused him to lose control of his car, but officials said they suspect he overcorrected.

The BMW rolled onto its left side and went airborne, its roof hitting a large evergreen tree.

The roof collapsed, killing Ramanathan, his wife, Sita Ramasarma, 31, both of San Jose, and his parents, Subbiah Ramanathan, 63, and Pushpa Ramanathan, 61, both of India, the CHP said.

Anushka Ramanathan, 3, was also injured and flown by air ambulance to Madera Children's Hospital with two broken legs and a skull fracture, Tuolumne County Sheriff's Sgt. Bob Bogolea said. She was listed in critical condition this morning.

All the people in the car were wearing seat belts, and the child was secured in a car seat.

The Groveland accident brings the number of fatalities resulting from car crashes in Tuolumne County to 20 this year. The last two fatal accidents also occurred near Groveland.

But it wasn't only car wrecks that took lives this weekend.

Earlier yesterday, a Sonora tree trimmer died when a limb he was standing on and attached to broke and fell 50 feet to the ground.

Kelly Grant Thompson, 39, foreman and tree climber for Provoco Tree Company, died about 11:15 a.m. of a broken neck.

Thompson and another man were trimming a large oak tree near a house on the 21600 block of Parrotts Ferry Road, Bogolea said.