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Three injured in two-vehicle collision near Imperial Sand Dunes rec area

May 07, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

Three people suffered minor to moderate injuries this morning when two vehicles collided on Highway 78 east of Gecko Road in the Imperial Sand Dunes recreation area.

The collision occurred shortly before 2 a.m.

According to a California Highway Patrol press release, Jose Antonio Vela, 53, of Las Vegas was driving west on 78 when he saw a vehicle driven by Steven Ruther, 50, of Lake Havasu, Ariz., traveling east in the highway's westbound lane.

Vela attempted to swerve around Ruther's vehicle but was unable to avoid the collision.

Vela suffered minor injuries but was not hospitalized.

Jeffrey Thomas, 18, of Las Vegas, a passenger in Vela's vehicle, suffered moderate injuries and was taken to Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley. Another passenger in Vela's vehicle, Graciela Vela, 55, of Mexicali, had minor injuries. She also was taken to Pioneers.

Information on their conditions was unavailable this morning.

Ruther was not injured. There were no passengers in his vehicle.


Everyone involved in the accident was wearing a seat belt.

The crash remained under investigation today and there was no information on whether there would be a citations as a result of the collision.

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