UPDATE: One dead in Hecker Pass Highway accident

The California Highway Patrol diverted traffic at Watsonville

A 39-year-old female died Sunday evening in a three-car
collision on Hecker Pass Highway, according to the California
Highway Patrol. She has been identified as San Francisco resident
Melinda Rodgers.
A 39-year-old female motorist died Sunday evening in a three-car collision on Hecker Pass Highway west of Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office identified the victim Monday afternoon as San Francisco resident Melinda Rodgers.

The accident occurred when the driver of a Ford F-250 pickup truck heading west near Whitehurst Road overcorrected after running off the roadway and collided with Rodgers’ Mazda sedan, CHP Sgt. Adam Rodriguez said.

The pickup “pretty much ripped off all of the left side of the Mazda,” causing major injuries to Rodgers, Rodriguez said.

She was pronounced dead at Saint Louise Regional Hospital, CHP Officer Tiffany Lopez said.

A third vehicle – a Ford Fusion – also drove around a corner and collided with the pickup. There were no other injuries, and the crash in under investigation, Rodriguez said.

“Alcohol and drugs don’t have anything to do with this crash at all,” he said. “Neither does cell phone use.”

The eastbound and westbound lanes of traffic were closed for nearly three hours, as drivers were diverted to U.S. Highway 129 at Watsonville Road, Rodriguez said.

Four CHP vehicles from the Santa Clara County side of Hecker Pass were joined by two units from the Santa Cruz County side in responding to the accident, Lopez said.

Three fire engines from CalFire and the Gilroy Fire Department were also called to the scene, she said.

The accident was called into dispatchers at 5:10 p.m., according to the CHP.

The CHP reported the roadway reopened just before 8 p.m.

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