By Loretta Kalb
A horrific two-car collision on Highway 50 just east of Placerville claimed the lives of four people Saturday night, including two children, when a car headed west in the Apple Hill area veered across four lanes of traffic and into the path of a minivan.
Early reports late Saturday had indicated that at least one person had died. Around midnight Saturday the word came that the death toll was much worse.
Three people in the car, a 2004 Toyota Prius, died at the scene of the crash, which occurred about 6:05 p.m. They were identified Sunday night as 38-year-old Sheng Kun Su, the driver; 39-year-old Shu Zhen Zhao and 8-year-old Shawn Su, all from Oakland.
The other occupant of that vehicle, identified as 10-year-old Elly Aili Su, was hospitalized with severe injuries, said CHP Officer Sean Ricci.
In addition, a 4-year-old Pollock Pines girl riding in the minivan died after the crash. The minivan was headed east in the slow lane of Highway 50 when the Prius crossed its path. The girl, identified as Nora Elizabeth Temple, was pronounced dead in a local hospital, Ricci said.
The collision left two other members of her family - 35-year-old Danielle Marie Temple, who was driving, and 52-year-old Will John Temple - with minor to moderate injuries. Twin 1-year-old boys, John Maxwell Temple and John James Temple, were also riding in the minivan but were not injured, Ricci said.
Ricci said he did not know the speeds of the two vehicles or what caused the driver of the car to veer from the westbound slow lane of Highway 50, across the fast lanes in each direction, and into the minivan's path.
The crash occurred along a stretch of Highway 50 that does not yet have a center divider. Ricci said El Dorado County has been erecting road dividers in recent years tied to location and traffic levels.