A Turlock family is starting on a long road of recovery after their minivan was hit from behind by a distracted driver, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Four members of the McIntire family sustained injuries ranging from minor to critical when their 2006 Honda Odyssey was struck from behind by a pickup truck on Highway 165 in Hilmar on June 17.
The crash set off a chain of collisions involving three other vehicles, though no other injuries were reported.
The CHP reported the crash was caused by a “distracted driver” but did not state what caused the distraction. The driver was identified as Savannah Gemperle, 20, of Hilmar. She was driving a 2011 Ford F-350. Gemperle had a complaint of pain at the site of the collision, but refused transportation to a hospital, according to the CHP report.
Gemperle was driving northbound on Highway 165, near Bradbury Road, when for some reason she failed to notice that the traffic in front of her was slowing and coming to a stop.
The Ford pickup struck the back of the Honda minivan with enough force to send it crashing into the vehicle in front of it. It’s unknown how fast Gemperle was traveling at the time of the collision.
The driver of the Honda minivan, Craig McIntire, 53, of Turlock and his front passenger, Lauryn McIntire, 17, of Turlock both sustained minor injuries and were taken to Emanuel Medical Center for treatment. The family has started a Facebook page to update conditions, and according to it, Craig McIntire suffered a concussion and a broken vertebra and Lauryn McIntire sustained a large hematoma to the back of her head.
The two children sitting in the back of the minivan took the brunt of the impact and suffered far more severe injuries.
Lynea McIntire, 9, of Turlock was sitting in the left rear seat and was flown to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento with major injuries. According to the family’s Facebook page she has undergone surgery for a broken jaw and is now in recovery with her jaw wired shut.
Merrick McIntire, 13, of Turlock was sitting in the right rear seat and was flown to Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera with critical injuries. The family’s Facebook page stated he suffered severe head trauma from the collision. He has had surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain and is being kept under sedation.
The family had just started out to a wedding in Klammath Falls when they were hit.
The impact of the collision caused the minivan to collide into the back of a 2014 Nissan Altima driven by Wesley Peterson of Hilmar. The Altima then hit a 2005 Chevy Silverado 2500 driven by Dennis Miguel, 55, of Hilmar. The Chevy was then pushed into a 2012 Dodge Avenger driven by Linda Rosa Aguiniga, 47, of Hilmar.
The three other drivers did not report any injuries, according to the CHP.
Alcohol and drugs were not considered factors in the collision. The crash remains under investigation.
A GoFundMe account has been established for the McIntire family to help with expenses. Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/2aj2krxg.