Two residents of Chowchilla died and four Davis residents sustained major injuries in a head-on vehicle collision Saturday morning on Highway 4 in Angels Camp.
Jeffrey Heffington, 60, and Sheila Heffington, 58, were pronounced dead at area hospitals after the collision, according to a California Highway Patrol - San Andreas Area press release.
Haomiao Zhang, 20, of Davis, was driving a 2016 Lexus RX350 at about 10:30 a.m. at an unknown speed, eastbound on Highway 4 and drove over the double yellow lines as he approached a curve in the road east of Pool Station Road.
The vehicle collided head-on with a 2019 Toyota Rav4 driven by Heffington in the westbound lane of Highway 4.
The Lexus continued to travel onto the north shoulder and overturned when it crashed into a traffic sign, the release said.
Zhang and his passengers Ao Ang, 20, Minhao Liang, 19 and Linjunche Seyache, 19, all of Davis, sustained major injuries. Yang was taken to Doctor’s Medical Center in Modesto and the rest were taken to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento for treatment of their injuries.
The cause of the collision is under investigation and drugs and alcohol are not considered to be a factor.
Highway 4 was closed for an hour during the investigation and during the facilitation of patient care, the release said.
In a Facebook release credited to Altaville Melones Fire Department Chief John Rohrabaugh, he thanked bystanders for providing ongoing information to 911 after the crash which sped up the response process and likely saved lives.
“The information that was given from the bystanders to 911 prior to our arrival saves life’s [sic]. Basically it equates to patients arriving at hospitals faster,” the release said.
Rohrabaugh said bystanders told 911 at least three people were trapped in vehicles, which prompted fire engines to bring extrication equipment with them. Six ambulances transported patients, he said.
The bystanders also provided aid, comforted patients, prayed with them, called their relatives and took care of their pets, he wrote.
“In rural communities such as ours we appreciate your assistance greatly,” he said.