Three people who died Sunday night when their SUV left Highway 50 and hit a tree have been identified by the coroner’s unit of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office.
They were identified as Jessica Downey, 32, and David Dean III, 34, both of Indianapolis, and Joanna Piccoli, 37, of Hesperia, San Bernardino County.
The crash occurred about 11:50 p.m. Sunday when the sport-utility vehicle the three were riding in with a fourth person was traveling westbound on Highway 50 east of Peavine Ridge Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The SUV failed to negotiate a curve and traveled off the roadway and down a steep grade. The vehicle hit a tree and the top of the SUV was ripped off.
Downey, Dean and Piccoli were ejected and died at the scene. The fourth person, a man who had been wearing a seat belt, climbed up the steep embankment and flagged down a motorist for help. He was seriously injured.