Sonora, CA Head On Collision, Jul 1979


Sonora, Calif. (AP) - "You could easily compare the impact to a car hitting a brick wall at 100 miles an hour," highway patrol officials said of the head-on crash near this Sierra Nevada town that killed eight people and critically injured three others.
The California Highway Patrol called the accident early Sunday morning the worst traffic accident in Tuolumne County history.
It occurred about 110 miles east of San Francisco on Highway 108, which winds through California's main gold region.
CHP officer Gil Agatha said the driver of the westbound car was JOE HALL MAY, 18, of Houston, Tex., who survived and was hospitalized in stable condition. Agatha said he was booked for investigation of felony drunk driving.
The highway patrol identified the dead as MICHAEL CHARLES SWANEE, 35, Sonora; his wife, PATRICIA ANN, 34; their son, KENNETH MICHAEL, 12; BEVERLY HALSEBO, 53, Oxnard, Calif.; JOHN HOLLENBECK, 9, Sonora; DALENA ELIZABETH LARA, 15; DEBBIE ANN LOOPER, 15, and BRIAN FULTON IRVINE, 18, all from Oakdale.
Injured were DENNIS ROBERT SWANEE, 9, Sonora, and PAUL HOLLENBECK, 10, Sonora.

The Times Munster Indiana 1979-07-23