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Weekend at Imperial Sand Dunes marred by two fatal accidents
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Posted by: Pantaz---------------------
Published on: October 29, 2005
At least two people died and emergency crews responded to at least two dozen calls for medical emergencies Friday and Saturday at the Imperial Sand Dunes during the recreation season’s traditional opening weekend.
A 16-year-old girl from Santee, Calif., died after her quad collided head-on with a pickup just before midnight Friday in Gordon’s Well at the Dune Buggy Flats, according to California Highway Patrol spokesman Jim Bettencourt.
A Sun Care helicopter evacuated the girl to Yuma Regional Medical Center. The girl had a passenger with her on the quad, but no one else was sent to the hospital in the accident, Bettencourt said.
At the time of rescue, the girl had suffered major injuries, including head trauma, a left broken femur and a broken wrist, Bettencourt said.
Bettencourt said he did not know whether the girl died en route or at the hospital.
In another wreck in the Glamis area east of Brawley at about 5 p.m. Saturday, a 31-year-old woman from Huntington Beach, Calif., died after her dirt bike collided with a dune buggy, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Salcedo. She died at Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Brawley three hours after the accident, according to Salcedo.
It was a busier Halloween weekend than usual, according to Bureau of Land Management spokesman Gary Taylor.
On an average Halloween weekend, the dunes area sees between 15,000 to 20,000 people, Taylor said. As many as 50,000 showed up this weekend at the dunes, an area that ranges from Highway 78 to Buttercup, or Gray’s Well. Taylor said that is a rough estimate that will be updated on Monday.
"It’s because of the nice weather, it was not too hot, not too cold," Taylor said.
In an average year, between five and 10 deaths will occur in the dunes, according to Taylor. Taylor said the number of medical responses was about average for a Halloween weekend.
San Diego resident Alex Macpherson stood outside of an ambulance Saturday morning. Inside, his friend laid motionless on a stretcher. The friend had wiped out on her first ride of the day, flipping head over heels and landing on her shoulder. She probably broke her collarbone, Macpherson said.
"I’ll be going back out, everybody will be going back out to ride. This kind of stuff happens," Macpherson said. It was Macpherson’s first time at Gray’s Well.
A few miles down the highway at Gordon’s Well, west of Gray’s Well, Lisa Faulkner sat around in a circle with her friends and family where they had set up camp. All around them, engines revved and rigs kicked up dust.
It was Saturday morning, and they were still waking up. In a few hours, they would head up the dune behind them to watch drag races.
A Yuma resident, Faulkner has been coming to the dunes since high school, when she used to come with friends to party in the desert. More people come every year, she said, particularly more families with kids.
Her husband David pointed to two strobe lights on top of his friend’s RV.
"You’ve got to have something different to be able to find your camp at night, there’s so many people," he said.
"It just gets bigger and bigger every year," she said.
Blake Schmidt can be reached at email@example.com
© Copyright 2005 YumaSun.com
Posted by: TemeculaTim---------------------
Only two died? I guess desert season is getting off to a slow start.
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