Wrong-Way Driver Killed in Multi-Vehicle Crash on I-80 Near Fernley

Photo Courtesy of NHP
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FERNLEY, NV - A woman was killed Saturday just outside Fernley after hitting 4 cars head-on while driving the wrong-way on Interstate 80.

Nevada Highway Patrol attempted to stop 41-year-old Tonya Babashoff when she was seen heading west on the eastbound lane on I-80 just before 9 p.m., Saturday.

Despite throwing spike strips near the Wadsworth exit and getting ahead of her on the busy freeway in attempts to stop her, Babashoff refused to stop her Honda sedan and eventually hit 4 cars head-on 7 miles west of Fernley.

Richard S. Vogel, 21, of Mariposa, California, was driving his black 2002 Ford F-150 pickup that was pulling a boat trailer eastbound in the left, travel lane. He saw Babashoff approaching in her sedan and swerved toward the right lane to avoid striking the car head-on.

Babashoff struck the left rear portion of Vogel's boat trailer before traveling head-on into the vehicle that was following directly behind, a light green 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup driven by his brother, 22-year-old Justin C. Vogel, also from Mariposa.

Moments after the Babashoff's Honda and Vogel's Dodge collided and while both vehicles were still in motion, a fourth vehicle described as a white 2005 Chevrolet Silverado pickup traveling eastbound, driven by Barry J. Strickler, 64 of Elko, tried to avoid hitting the two vehicles which were occupying both eastbound travel lanes. The left front of the Chevy struck the rear of the Honda.

Strickler and Richard Vogel escaped injury while Justin Vogel received moderate to serious injures and was airlifted from the crash scene by Care Flight and flown to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno.

Babashoff sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. Investigators are waiting for the results of the toxicology report to know whether alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication contributed to the impairment of her driving.

Both lanes of eastbound Interstate 80 were blocked for about an hour to secure roadway evidence and diagram the locations of the involved vehicles. Traffic was then reduced to just one lane until approximately 3:00 am when all lanes were cleared and re-opened.

Trooper Chris Kelly of the Major Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) is investigating this tragic event. Witnesses, or anyone with additional information, are encouraged to contact him at (775) 689-4661 regarding case number NHP-121200751.