A typical holiday weekend at the Oceano Dunes Recreational Area is filled with visitors taking advantage of the sun, sand and, of course, off-roading. On this holiday weekend, there is also an investigation under way into the death of a woman Friday night in a crash.
The 5-vehicle crash left one dead and several others injured.
“A group of individuals were following each other and they went off about a 25-to-30 foot dune. The first vehicle went off, speeds are estimated at about 60 miles per hour,” said Kevin Pearce, State Parks Chief Ranger.
That first vehicle crash landed after going over the dune near the vent pipe area. Several other vehicles following also crashed.
“Probably a couple of end over end and barrel rolls involved,” Pearce said.
The woman who died was in the first vehicle along two others including an 11-year-old girl, according to State Parks. Rangers who arrived on scene around 7:45 p.m. performed CPR and managed to get the woman breathing again but she died later that night at Arroyo Grande Community Hospital.
The tragic incident didn’t stop visitors from flooding the dunes Saturday. Night passes sold out by noon. For a visitor from Fresno, the crash is a reminder to be vigilant.
“Kind of be aware of our surroundings, look out ahead of where we’re driving, try not to go too fast,” Antonio said.
Pearce said speed is a factor in Friday’s deadly crash. “Speed is a factor in most of our collisions, it’s a matter of knowing your environment, knowing where you’re recreating, knowing your vehicle and experience. Sometimes speeds are appropriate, sometimes they’re not,” Pearce said.
Two people in the vehicle with the woman who died were treated at the hospital for their injuries. Two others in other vehicles suffered minor injuries and were treated on scene and released.
The name of the woman has not yet been released.