An afternoon crashed caused by an alleged impaired driver killed two Indiana residents and injured others Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 21.
According to a statement from the California Highway Patrol, about 1:23 p.m. multiple vehicles were involved in the crash on Highway 395, north of County Road A3.
Douglas Hansken, 67, of Chester, was arrested at the scene for allegedly driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter. He also sustained major injuries and was flown to Renown Medical Center in Reno.
The names of the deceased and others injured are being withheld, pending family notification.
According to the statement, Hansken was traveling northbound on Highway 395 at an undetermined rate of speed in a black GMC pickup. At the same time, a silver Chevrolet Cruze, occupied by four people, was traveling southbound on the highway. A white Hyundai Elantra, transporting five people and a silver Ford Escape followed, carrying four occupants, were traveling southbound, following the Cruze.
According to the CHP, Hansken allegedly swerved across the solid double yellow lines into the southbound lane, side swiping the silver Chevrolet.
Following the initial impact, the statement continued, the GMC continued in the southbound lane striking the white Hyundai head-on.
The GMC rotated onto its side, subsequently striking the Ford.
Both lanes of traffic were blocked due to the collision.
One person, a 76-year-old man from Indiana, a passenger in the Hyundai, was pronounced dead at the scene.
A 75-year-old woman from Indiana, a passenger in the Hyundai, was later pronounced dead at Renown Medical Center in Reno.
The driver of the Hyundai, a 22-year-old from Michigan, sustained major injuries and was transported to Renown Medical Center.
Daniel Merritt, 65, of Susanville, who was driving the Ford Escape, sustained moderate injuries and was transported to Banner Lassen Medical Center.
According to the CHP, this is a preliminary press release and the collision is still under investigation. More information will be provided as the investigation continues.
The CHP is asking anyone who witnessed the collision to contact the office at 252-1800.
The CHP extends gratitude to all who helped during the collision: The Lassen County Sheriff’s Office, the Susanville Police Department, the Milford Fire Department, Janesville Fire Department, CDCR/ HDSP fire, Cal Fire, SEMSA and all civilians who stopped to provide assistance.