Two Mariposans die in Monday accidentFree Access


With fire continuing to burn throughout Mariposa County, another piece of bad news hit the area on Monday afternoon.

A fatal, head-on collision took place involving two vehicles — one a United States Forest Service vehicle — around 3 p.m. that afternoon. It occurred on Highway 49 South, near Griffin Drive in Oakhurst.

Lon Rice, 74, Mariposa, and Joan Rice, 87, Mariposa, were killed due to the collision. Lon Rice was driving a 1998 Chevrolet, and Joan Rice was in the passenger seat.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Judy Reynolds, 69, Lebec, was driving a U.S. Forest Service 2018 Jeep south on Highway 49 south of Griffin Drive at approximately 55 miles per hour.

Lon Rice was traveling north on Highway 49.

For an unknown reason, Reynolds turned into the northbound lane in front of Lon Rice, who steered to the left to avoid Reynolds. Reynolds turned back to the right and the front of the vehicles collided.

Lon Rice was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after paramedics arrived. Joan Rice was flown by helicopter to the Fresno Regional Medical Center, where she eventually succumbed to her injuries.

Reynolds and her passenger, Linda Archibeque, 68, Doloroes, Colo., suffered moderate injuries and were transported by ambulance to Fresno Regional Medical Center.

They appear to be in stable condition.

The CHP is continuing to investigate the incident.

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