Local News

Monday, Feb 04 2013 05:55 PM

Dense fog, suspected DUI -- and carnage on the 99

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

An accused drunken driver who was traveling the wrong way on Highway 99 and dense fog combined for a crash that injured four people and closed the highway for three hours, the CHP reported.

Nichole St. Germain, 37, of Bakersfield was arrested on suspicion of felony drunken driving causing injury to others, according to California Highway Patrol officers.

The CHP gave the following account:

Germain was driving a 2010 Ford Mustang southbound in the northbound lanes of Highway 99 at Whisler Road about 7:30 a.m. Sunday, officers said. Another motorist, Alyssa Ardavanis, 18, of Newhall, was driving on Highway 99 northbound in the fast lane as Germain approached.

Officers said Ardavanis could not avoid a collision and the right side of her vehicle struck the right side of the Mustang, which continued southbound and collided head-on with a northbound Chevy Silverado driven by Bakersfield resident Luis Alvarez. The Silverado hit the median, overturned and collided into a Pontiac Grand Prix in the northbound fast lane; that vehicle was driven by 30-year-old Darrel Schlichting of Bakersfield.

The Mustang traveled out of control into the middle lane, where its left side was hit by the front of a 2006 Dodge Caravan, officers said. That vehicle was driven by 49-year-old Bakersfield resident Lewis Vogle.

Several passersby stopped to give aid and tried to warn approaching traffic about the crash.

Officers said visibility at the time was limited to 200 feet because of dense fog, and the conditions led to several more property damage and injury collisions occurred on both sides of the highway.

St. Germain suffered major injuries and was taken to Kern Medical Center, according to the CHP. Alvarez, Vogle and Schlichting each suffered minor injuries, and Ardavanis was uninjured.

An investigation is ongoing.

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