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Sherman Oaks | Valley Focus

Woman Badly Burned in Crash Improving

September 16, 1997|CLAIRE VITUCCI

A woman who was severely burned in a Sept. 9 car crash that killed 11 near Lompoc is improving, hospital officials said Monday.

The condition of Rosa Hernandez, 47, of Canoga Park was upgraded from critical to serious following surgery Monday at the Grossman Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital.

Doctors removed dead and dying tissue from the burned areas on Hernandez's body and replaced it with cadaver skin during more than three hours of surgery, according to a statement released by the hospital. Hernandez is expected to undergo more surgery later this week in which doctors may graft healthy skin from other areas of her body onto the burned areas.

Hernandez was burned over more than 30% of her body in a crash last week on Highway 1 when a Chevrolet van in which she and 11 other people were riding was hit by a Ford pickup truck with three occupants.

Eight of the van's occupants and the three in the pickup truck were killed. All those in the van were from Canoga Park, having moved there from Puebla, Mexico, about six weeks ago.

A preliminary investigation into the cause of the crash concluded the pickup truck crossed over the double yellow lines and hit the van head-on. A more complete report of the crash investigation could be released today, said Jim Everly, a California Highway Patrol spokesman.

The remaining unidentified passenger in the pickup was named Monday as Joseph T. Navarro, 28, of Woodland Hills.

Toxicology reports released Friday revealed that the drivers of the van and the pickup truck, both deceased, had traces of drugs in their systems.

Julio Rosa Camacho, 20, the driver of the van, had cocaine in his system, officials said.

The pickup truck's driver, Michael Anthony Bucci, 42, of Lompoc, had cocaine, opiates and marijuana in his system, authorities said.

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