One injured in Hwy 395 collision

By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

A San Diego woman was injured last week while driving northbound on Highway 395, just south of Kramer Junction, when the driver of a Jeep reportedly collided with her vehicle while trying to pass.

According to a press release from California Highway Patrol’s Barstow office, the collision occurred around 5 p.m. on Friday, May 24. The driver of the Jeep, later identified as Richard Michael, age 56, of Pomona, tried to overtake southbound traffic and drove directly into the path of a BMW, driven by 30-year-old San Diego resident Natasha Nordick.

A Ridgecrest resident, who chose to remain anonymous, was traveling out of town that day and witnessed the accident. She said she saw a vehicle try to pass her in her rear view mirror just before the crash into the oncoming car. After calling 911, she remained at the scene to assist the injured Nordick and deliver her report to the authorities.

After the left side of the Jeep collided with the right side of Nordick’s vehicle, the Jeep travelled off the road and rolled down an embankment while the BMW came to rest on the shoulder of the road. Michael was reportedly uninjured but Nordick was transported to Victor Valley Hospital via ambulance for her injuries.

Alcohol and drugs were not suspected to be contributing factors to the incident and after an investigation, CHP determined Michael to be at fault for the collision. According to the witness, Michael had been driving aggressively and was trying to pass in a double-yellow zone.

"It’s just so frustrating how many people pass unsafely on that road," she said, commenting of on the frequency of accidents from aggressive driving.

The lack of safe passing options on the section of Highway 395 between Ridgecrest and the Adelanto has been a point of community discussion as dozens of fatal accidents have occurred over the last few years. The accidents have sparked “395 Kills” sticker campaigns to raise awareness of the highway’s toll.

Caltrans representatives and legislators have communicated that there are plans in the future to construct more lanes, but it remains unclear when that will be. See future editions for more information.

Story First Published: 2019-05-31