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Ventura County

Weak Storm Still Treacherous

November 30, 2001|JENIFER RAGLAND | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Another Pacific storm swept through Ventura County on Thursday, creating wet roads that led to one serious-injury accident and the usual spate of fender benders.

Less than half an inch of rain fell over most parts of the county, from 0.42 of an inch in Ojai to 0.37 in Thousand Oaks, according to the National Weather Service.

"It moved through pretty fast, and it was not as much rain as we were looking for," said Stuart Seto, of the weather service's Oxnard office.

But slick roads contributed to several accidents throughout the day, including a head-on collision on California 126 that seriously injured a 33-year-old Fillmore woman, California Highway Patrol spokesman Dave Webb said.

Michelle Haase was driving a Toyota Tacoma pickup east on the highway about 10:15 a.m. when she lost control on the wet pavement and crossed into oncoming traffic, hitting a big-rig truck headed west, Webb said.

The the big rig ran off the road into an orchard and jackknifed, Webb said, spilling diesel fuel that closed one lane in each direction for more than three hours.

Haase was airlifted to Henry Mayo Newhall Medical Center with numerous broken bones, Webb said. The truck driver, Ronald Skaggs, 62, of New Mexico, was not hurt.

About an hour later, a big-rig truck traveling west on the Ronald Reagan Freeway in Simi Valley ran off the road and landed on its side near the Sycamore Avenue offramp, causing minor injuries to the driver and closing one lane of the freeway.

"It's been a real busy day," Webb said. "But we're very fortunate there was the only one major-injury accident. The day was spent running from call to call, but most were minor."

The CHP deployed twice as many officers Thursday in anticipation of weather-related problems and after a rainy weekend that contributed to three traffic deaths. In all, seven people died in separate accidents over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend in Ventura County.

"The rainy season is here, and we need to slow down, pay attention and leave more distance between vehicles," Webb said.

No other weather-related problems, such as flooding or mudslides, were reported by law enforcement authorities throughout the county Thursday.

Two more storms are expected to hit the area beginning this weekend. The first should start early Sunday and continue through Monday. A brief storm is expected Wednesday.

"These are going to be the same types of storms," Seto said. "Not too much to worry about."

Most locations in Ventura County have recorded above-normal rainfall for this point in the season. Camarillo has received 3 inches, up from the normal 2.17 inches. Saticoy has recorded 3.34 inches so far, up from the normal 2.27 inches for late November.

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