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Tears, trauma after auto crashes

Unrelated collisions were minutes apart

Posted: November 19, 2008 10:59 p.m.
Updated: November 20, 2008 4:30 a.m.

Nolan Divine, second from right, gives his account of a Wednesday morning traffic collision to Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Deputy Kirk Petersen. Noelle Saver and Fernando Ballasteros inspect the damage.

Two separate auto crashes at the intersection of Citrus Street and Valencia Boulevard sent one woman to the hospital, clogged local traffic and left a teenager in tears Wednesday morning.

Noelle Saver, 18, and two friends were traveling eastbound on Valencia Boulevard on their way to In-N-Out Burger at about 11:30 a.m. Saver saw the lights of an emergency vehicle in her rear-view mirror and decided to switch lanes to clear the way, she said. Saver, who was unscathed, made a quick move from the center lane to the far right lane in her Toyota Celica and ended up lodged under a truck's tractor trailer, said Deputy Kirk Petersen of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

"I was thinking, ‘Oh my God. Did this really happen?,'" Saver said.

Tears cascaded down Saver's face as she recounted the story.

"This is my first accident and I wondered if my friends were alright," she said.

Fernando Ballasteros was sitting in the back of Saver's Toyota when the car got wedged under the truck.
"I thought he was going to run us over," he said.

The trailer's wheels crunched the right rear quarter-panel of the small Toyota. The trailer's rear wheels punched the Celica out from under the trailer and the Celica struck the back of a small white pickup.

"(Saver) ripped the lug nuts off the wheels," said Charles Hanson, the truck's driver. The truck's rear springs were ripped by the collision with the Toyota, he said.

Traffic backed up on Valencia Boulevard as deputies sorted out the facts and tow trucks carted off vehicles.
Saver wasn't the only person stunned by an accident at the intersection Wednesday morning.

Joevic Conte's green Nissan pickup struck a silver Infiniti making a U-turn in the intersection about the same time, Petersen said.

"I was driving under the speed limit, but I couldn't stop in time," Conte said.

The crash sent the Infiniti spinning and Conte's car careening head-on into Cindy Taylor's Toyota Sequoia as she waited at the Citrus Street traffic light on the north side of the intersection.

"I was sitting there, stopped for a red light," Taylor said. "I was thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh,' and he hit me head-on. I heard it and saw him coming right at me."

The driver of the silver Infiniti, whose name was not released, was taken to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital with what was described as minor injuries, said Capt. William McCloud of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

There were no other injuries reported, he said.


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