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Distracted driving could be cause of fatal Midpines crash

Monday, August 16, 2010

The CHP thinks distracted driving may have played a role in a deadly crash this weekend in Mariposa County. 55-year-old Sharron Law and two others died when an 18-year-old driver veered into them.

A friend of one of the victims stopped to pray alongside Highway 140 near Midpines. A bouquet of flowers now sits on the guardrail. Below it ... debris and markings on the pavement where the vehicles came to rest. They're all sobering reminders of Saturday's crash that left three people dead.

The investigation has revealed, 18-year-old Marissa Fuqua of Mariposa was driving eastbound around this curve when she suddenly veered over the double yellow line into the westbound lane. Fuqua's Ford Bronco first hit a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and then a Ford Escape. Michael and Deana Smith of Chowchilla were thrown off the motorcycle and died. The driver of the escape, 55-year-old Sharron Law was also killed.

Investigators have ruled out drugs or alcohol. They are not elaborating, but say the teen driver had three friends in the car and that she may have been distracted. "It may only take one to two seconds where you're attention is diverted from the road way and something very tragic can happen," said Sgt. Donnie Turner.

News of the crash has shocked the picturesque town of El Portal, where longtime resident, Sharron Law worked at the Yosemite Association. Savanna Deger worked alongside law last summer. "She was really nice and she always made work fun like telling little jokes and I think it makes everyone realize like how, life or how precious life is."

As for the driver who caused the crash ... she and her friends all suffered moderate to major injuries. On Sunday, the teen's mom wrote on her Facebook page in part quote, "I am so grateful for my daughter surviving. But, my heart is broken for the families that lost their loved ones. I only pray they find peace."

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mariposa county, midpines, local, shannon handy
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