Man identified in Monday fatal in Minden

MINDEN - A Mound House man has been identified as the person killed Monday in an accident at Highway 395 and Airport Road in Minden.

According to Trooper Mike Edgell, Jeffrey Gray, 41, was pronounced dead at the 5:51 p.m. accident.

Edgell said a teal 1995 Chevy Camaro driven by Juvenal Pineda, 18, of Smith Valley, attempted to make a left-hand turn onto southbound Highway 395 and collided in the fast lane with Gray's northbound 1992 red Subaru station wagon.

Edgell said the cause was a failure to yield the right of way on the part of the Camaro.

Both vehicles sustained heavy damage.

The driver of the northbound Subaru, Mound House resident Jeffrey Gray, 41, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Pineda, 18, suffered minor cuts and bruises, said Edgell.

There were no passengers in either car.

Portions of northbound 395 were closed with mostly one-lane traffic until around 8:24 p.m.

The accident is still under investigation and no citations have been issued. Any witnesses can call Trooper Hiagney at (775) 687-0400.

The accident marks the eighth fatality on Carson Valley roads in 2011 and the third in a week. It was also the second in the general vicinity of Airport and 395 in four days.

"The two most recent accidents didn't have anything in common in terms of their cause," Edgell said.

"They weren't in any way related.

"The best advice you can take away from Monday's accident is that when you are turning across someone else's right of way, you want to check and then double-check into that direction of traffic."

The accident sparked an immediate outcry in online forums for a traffic signal to be installed at the Airport and 395 intersection, particularly among those who have to commute off Airport Road.

"This was a tragic accident," said Kim Busch, who works at AVK off Airport Road and goes through the intersection daily. "The county and state really need to get a light installed at 395 and Airport.

"They approve all of our businesses building large facilities that can employ hundreds of citizens, so they should make sure the road system can safely handle the traffic.

"We have to submit annual reports to the county proving we have enough parking spots for the number of employees and the size of our facility, so why don't they do the same for the number of businesses and employees and road conditions?"

Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Magruder said Tuesday the intersection doesn't meet the criteria for a traffic signal as there are lights at Stephanie Way and Johnson Lane.

Criteria for traffic lights include vehicular volume, pedestrian volume, proximity to schools, coordinated signal system, crash history and roadway networks.

"When you're talking about criteria, people say, 'What about lives?'" Magruder said. "But lives are still lost at intersections (with traffic lights)."

He said a series of traffic lights such as exists on Pyramid Way in Sparks can result in fender-benders and drivers running lights.

A light at Airport Road in Minden would give that stretch of 395 three signals in less than three miles of 65-mph roadway.

"You don't want to say, we're going to fix these problems, when it could create other problems down the road," Magruder said.

Magruder said when the Highway 395 night-paving project gets under way, traffic will be affected.

"We're asking motorists to be aware of that," he said.

He said the increase in accidents would be reviewed by NDOT.

"There may be better signage, or something we can do," Magruder said.

County Commission Chairman Mike Olson said Tuesday there wasn't much the county could do because Highway 395 is under the Nevada Department of Transportation.

"The problem is we have a freeway running through our community without the option of off-ramps," Olson said.

He also said Carson Valley is a community in transition with increased traffic and more new residents.

"What's terrible is that the people who are getting hurt or killed in these accidents are our citizens and visitors to our community," Olson said. "I'd sure be open to any solution people have."


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