O'Byrnes crash

Two drivers were hospitalized in the wake of a two-vehicle, head-on crash on O’Byrnes Ferry Road before 6 a.m. Thursday, California Highway Patrol and Tuolumne County Fire staff said.

The crash occurred about 5:45 a.m. near Shotgun Creek Road and the Sierra Conservation Center prison in Tuolumne County.

Jonathan Branaugh, 35, of Tracy was driving a 2001 Chevrolet Blazer east toward Copperopolis and tried to pass a tractor-trailer big rig, CHP Sonora staff said. Branaugh was driving 50 to 55 miles per hour, then crossed over double-yellow lines and accelerated to about 65 mph to try to pass the big rig.

Coming the opposite direction at that moment was a Ford F-550, heading west toward Highway 108, driven by Joshua Fernandes, 33, of Angels Camp.

Fernandes tried to avoid the crash by turning the Ford to the right but there was not enough time or room. The fronts of the Chevrolet and the Ford collided and the Chevrolet overturned, CHP Sonora staff said.

A helicopter air ambulance crew was called in and Branaugh was flown to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto. Fernandes was taken to Adventist Health Sonora.

Alcohol and drugs were not suspected to be factors in the crash. Firefighters from the prison, Tuolumne County, and Cal Fire’s Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit responded, along with at least one Tuolumne County Ambulance crew.


Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.


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