Head-on crash in Oro Grande kills 17-year-old Hesperia girl, prompts emergency airlifts

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"For reasons still under investigation, the driver of the Ford Escape veered into the northbound lane, directly into the path of travel of the Ford F-150, which resulted in a head on crash," the California Highway Patrol stated regarding a fatal crash in Oro Grande on Feb. 11, 2022.
"For reasons still under investigation, the driver of the Ford Escape veered into the northbound lane, directly into the path of travel of the Ford F-150, which resulted in a head on crash," the California Highway Patrol stated regarding a fatal crash in Oro Grande on Feb. 11, 2022.

A head-on car crash in Oro Grande killed a teenage girl who authorities say wore no seatbelt and caused major injuries to three other High Desert residents — two of whom were airlifted for emergency treatment, including a 12-year-old girl.

Nickayla Justine Abarca, a 17-year-old Hesperia resident, was pronounced dead less than 20 minutes after the head-on crash in which she occupied the front passenger seat of a 2021 Ford Escape, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Coroner Division.

The crash occurred on National Trails Highway, roughly 1,000 feet south of its intersection with Markham Road, at about 5:40 p.m. this past Friday.

Two other people in the car with Abarca suffered major injuries: a 66-year-old woman from Hesperia; the driver; and a 12-year-old girl from Helendale, who sat in a rear passenger seat, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A 44-year-old Helendale man driving a 2001 Ford F-150 was the lone victim on the other end of the crash, the agency stated, noting that he too suffered major injuries. Authorities haven't identified the three victims aside from Abarca by name.

Two medical helicopters were called in for emergency transport of the females who were in the car with Abarca, according to CHP spokesman Michael Mumford.

Mumford told the Daily Press the 12-year-old girl was airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center — which is also where the man in the F-150 went via an ambulance — while the 66-year-old woman was airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center.

The current medical status of these crash victims is unclear, but it doesn't appear any of them have died in the days since.

Mumford said his agency only gets medical updates if a hospitalized victim ends up dying and said CHP had no such updates on the three Oro Grande victims as of Monday afternoon.

"All occupants were wearing seatbelts besides the 17-year-old (who) was killed," Mumford said.

The man who drove the F-150 was arrested for driving under the influence before his medical transfer from the scene of the crash Friday, according to CHP.

However, the agency's preliminary findings in an ongoing investigation suggest the man isn't responsible for the crash. Investigators say he was driving north on National Trails Highway while the Escape carrying the three female victims drove south.

"For reasons still under investigation, the driver of the Ford Escape veered into the northbound lane, directly into the path of travel of the Ford F-150, which resulted in a head-on crash," CHP stated.

Charlie McGee covers the city of Barstow and its surrounding communities for the Daily Press. He is also a Report for America corps member with the GroundTruth Project, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization dedicated to supporting the next generation of journalists in the U.S. and around the world. McGee may be reached at 760-955-5341 or cmcgee@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @bycharliemcgee.

This article originally appeared on Victorville Daily Press: Head-on crash in Oro Grande kills 17-year-old, injures 3 others