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One Dead In San Pablo Dam Road Crash

Update: Coroner identifies victim as Richmond woman; CHP says Chevy Trailblazer crossed center line and hit an oncoming car on the road at the northwest corner of San Pablo Reservoir.

Updated, Friday. Coroner's office identified the victim in the collision as Linden Hynes, 50, of Richmond, Bay City News Service reported.

A woman and her dog were killed in a head-on crash on a curve along San Pablo Dam Road Wednesday between Orinda and El Sobrante.

The accident happened at 12:09 p.m. when the driver of a white Chevy Trailblazer in the northbound lane crossed over into the southbound lane and struck a gray Volkswagen Passat headed south, reported CHP Sgt. Ted White at the scene. The mangled gray car came to rest about 10 feet off the road, to the east, just below the dam that holds back San Pablo Reservoir.

The driver of the car, a Richmond woman, was killed. The driver of the Trailblazer, an El Sobrante resident in his twenties, was taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek with a broken arm, broken wrist and head contusions, according to CHP Officer John Fransen.

San Pablo Road was blocked in both directions for about four miles — at Castro Ranch Road on the El Sobrante side and back at Wildcat Canyon Road on the Orinda side. It was reopened around 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts, Fransen said.

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

Stephen Fredricks December 26, 2012 at 11:32 PM
I feel very sorry for the victim's family; imagine loosing somebody you love the day after Christmas (or anytime of the year).
JC December 27, 2012 at 12:42 AM
This road needs to be more heavily patrolled by police. I live off of this road and every day people drive 15-20mph over the speed limit. They often times pass other drivers using the opposite lane, they don't turn their headlights on at dusk or other times of low visibility. We're talking about an unlit two lane, winding stretch of mountain road. The morning commute traveling southbound is insane...people treat it like its the autobahn. Im so sad and sorry that someone had to lose their life because of another negligent driver.
JB December 27, 2012 at 02:28 AM
I have to agree with JC. I drive this road every weekday morning. People drive incredibly fast. They need to put more patrols on this road. So sorry for the family of the woman who passed.
MS December 27, 2012 at 02:58 AM
In addition to more patrols (Orinda end seems to be covered), it would be helpful for more lighting, as well. I drive this road 3-4 days a week, frequently coming home in the dark. I know the road fairly well, and always stick to the speed limit, but sometimes it can be like driving blind out there - esp. in the rain. People pass drivers all the time. Very unfortunate incident.
Chris F. December 27, 2012 at 04:07 PM
I am sorry to hear about the accident, It is very sad to hear of the loss of life. I drive this road often and unlike many of the other posters I do not see the passing and fast driving since the paving and double yellow stripping, More often then not I notice the person that can't seem to get above 35-40 in a 50 mph zone. I hate the fact that so many people dump their trash loads on the side of the road, I sure do wish that El Sobronte would do something to catch these people.
BlackTahoe01 December 27, 2012 at 04:11 PM
needs police patrol on certain parts of the road, I live at the end of camino pablo and people driving by just dont give a crap about anybody, you got people riding thier road bike and residents walking, speed traps will work good here, more money for the city or county.
Bailey Lee December 27, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Saving lives and preventing injuries are always good. More money for the city and county means usually more money to waste. Feel free to voluntarily donate. HNY.
TMoraga December 28, 2012 at 04:34 AM
This type of collision seems to be common on San Pablo dam rd. I drive it a few times a month and have had three cars cross all the way over into my lane. Oddly enough every case it was the car going north that crossed over. It is a dangerous road people dont realize that.
Karen December 28, 2012 at 02:22 PM
We came upon this accident right after it happened. It looked bad. There was so much wreckage we thought it was a 3 car accident. We knew it would take hours before we could get home so we turned around, went through the Caldecott Tunnel and then drove home on 80. What is ironic is when we approached Ashby Avenue on Hwy 80 there was another accident, a van had flipped over. That took time to get through that mess. We were so glad to get home.
Dave and Sheila December 28, 2012 at 03:56 PM
That person driving 35-40 is the one I'm always stuck behind. I drive this road often, as well, and I wish something could be done to prevent all the animals from being hit on it. It's unsettling and sad to see roadkill all over it.
Andrew L. December 28, 2012 at 05:32 PM
When leaving Orinda BART in the evenings, I'm struck by the amount of southbound traffic on this road. Are there that many people who work in Richmond and live in Orinda and points east, or is there some other shortcut this road serves as?
BB December 29, 2012 at 11:18 PM
I was on my bicycle heading southbound, about 15 seconds up the road from the accident spot whenI heard the crash. I turned my head and saw the SUV in the middle of the road. Prior to the crash, I recall seeing the SUV headed down the hill. It did not seem to me that the driver was speeding although I have no idea if he was going the speed limit or not (having ridden San Pablo Dam Road hundreds of times over the years, I can tell if a car is going excessively fast). The driver was also in his lane at the time. However, that said, I did not hear any screeching brakes just before the crash - just a huge huge bang and when I turned my head, I saw the SUV stopped in the middle of the road. The spot of the accident was about 2/3rds of the way down the hill and the point where San Pablo Dam Road opens up to 2 lanes (about a third of the mile away). If the driver was crossing over the lane, that would be foolish as the road opens up at the bottom of that hill. I'm guessing one of the two drivers got distracted and drifted across the line. There was a car following the SUV, about 200 ft back and hopefully they could fill in the blanks for the police.
Josh Goldman December 30, 2012 at 08:17 AM
Moral of story: Drive a huge heavy gas guzzling car, it will save your life and is a more effective accident insurance that what you could buy at CSAA.

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