FERNLEY — Early Thursday at about 4:30 a.m, a woman driving a 1997 Subaru Legacy station wagon headed east in Interstate 80, about 7 miles west of Fernley, apparently drove off the roadway and stuck a guardrail. But the incident wasn’t over yet.
After striking the barrier, the vehicle zigzagged down the road and veered back across both eastbound lanes to smash into the adjacent section of guardrail before crossing back over both lanes and finally coming to a stop by colliding with the final guardrail.
Problems didn’t end following the driver’s final resting place along the side of the road, however. After crashing, evidence left at the scene indicated it was a woman’s vehicle and possible a female driver, Allen said
Following the crash, the female driver extracted herself from the Subaru and fled the scene, leaving belongings behind.
About two minutes later, a 2009 Toyota Prius, driven by Mark J. Cox, 37, of Reno, struck the wrecked Subaru. The Prius sustained substantial front-end damage.
Cox received injuries in the collision and was taken by ambulance to Renown Regional Medical Center where he was treated and later discharged Thursday morning.
“Evidence at the scene indicated the vehicle subsequently rolled over at least one time and came to rest on its wheels blocking the entire right-hand travel lane. The driver abandoned the vehicle and left the scene prior to our arrival,” said Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman Chuck Allen.
The driver left items inside the car that were recovered by the trooper in charge of the investigation, Allen said. The trooper will likely try to make contact with the driver, he said. However, the investigation is ongoing.
The driver might have been “traveling home with another vehicle following and was scared and left the scene,” Allen said. “It’s common with alcohol or drugs or when an administrative matter is involved (such as a warrant for an arrest) or a combination of these, which would be a reason why somebody would not want police to show up. That’s what we typically see.”
The driver faces charges that would include failing to report an accident, failing to maintain travel lanes and failing to use due care once investigators make contact with the suspect, Allen said.
NHP Trooper Terry Whitehead, lead investigator of the incident, is asking the public’s help in the case, He would like to speak with the driver of the Subaru, witnesses, or anyone who may have provided a ride to the Subaru driver Thursday morning.
Anyone with information about the accidents are encouraged to call the Department of Public Safety’s Communication Center at 775-687-0400, citing case number NHP-120403880. The public can also email Whitehead directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.