A preliminary report from the California Highway Patrol indicates that Natalie Nield, 17, may have been driving the SUV that appears to have been the origin of a horrific, fiery multi-vehicular accident just of Bishop on the evening of Aug. 9. The crash killed three people that night, including Nield and Amanda Post in the San Diego-bound SUV. Also killed in the accident was Wendy Rice, who was driving a van that was struck by the SUV. The van was one of three from California Baptist University in Riverside that had been carrying athletes on a training trip heading north to Mammoth.
Nield was only a few days away from her 18th birthday. Several athletes in the van were injured, as were the three survivors of the five persons in the SUV, including Drew Dellis, 22, and Derek Thomas, 19, as well as trainer John Adams, who is well known to many in the Mammoth community. (Read an update on Adams’ progress. No updates on the conditions of Dellis or Thomas are as yet available.)
According to the CHP report, Nield may have made “an unsafe turning movement” for an unknown reason, which caused the SUV to travel off the west side of the highway, and hit a drainage ditch that borders the highway shoulder before spinning out of control. The SUV overturned several times, bursting into flames as it tumbled into the northbound traffic lane, where it apparently struck the van head on.
A full report on the accident is still on hold, pending findings from the Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT).