Motor Homes Collide, Close Highway 49 South of Grass Valley

NEVADA COUNTY -- A collision between two motor homes closed both directions of Highway 49 near Golden Chain Drive, south of Grass Valley, on Tuesday afternoon, according to Caltrans.

Witnesses who live nearby say they heard a loud boom and came out to see the two motor homes stuck together.

"It sounded like a big explosion," said witness John Boyd.

The CHP says just before 1:30 p.m., Raymond Poquette, 77, of Grass Valley, was driving a Ford Pace Arrow southbound on Highway 49. He was not wearing a seat belt. At the same time, Lawrence Kaye, 64, of Anaheim, was driving northbound in a Freightliner Thor motor home, towing a Jeep.

For an unknown reason, Poquette unsafely turned his motor home across the center of the roadway, directly in Kaye's path. Kaye was unable to avoid a crash and struck Poquette's vehicle head on.

Both Lawrence Kaye and his passenger, Bonnie Kaye, 55, suffered major injuries in the crash. Both were transported to hospitals via helicopter.

Poquette was ejected from his motor home and also suffered major injuries. He was transported to an area hospital.

Kaye was also transporting two dogs in his motor home. One dog stayed inside but the other escaped. Both dogs were safely recovered and appear to be in good health. They were taken to a veterinary hospital for evaluation.

"The fact that anybody survived this we witnessed a miracle today," Boyd said.

The roadway was shut down for nearly four hours but has since reopened. It was shut down for so long because there was a lot of debris and wreckage that was thrown all over the area. It took some time for crews to clean up the mess.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Stay with FOX40 and FOX40.com for the latest as this story develops.