Crime - Sacto 911

Auburn man ejected from vehicle in Highway 49 rollover crash

An Auburn man was critically injured Tuesday afternoon and two other people sustained minor injuries in a rollover crash on Highway 49 in Nevada County.

The crash occurred about 4:25 p.m. as Yonel Velasco, 25, was driving a 1995 Ford Explorer south on Highway 49, just north of Gautier Drive, traveling 60 to 65 mph, according to a California Highway Patrol news release.

Passengers told the CHP that Velasco allowed the vehicle to veer to the right and the tires hit the rumble strips near the right shoulder of the roadway. Passengers and witnesses reported that Velasco panicked and jerked the vehicle back to the left, then lost control and was steering side to side in an effort to regain control.

The vehicle flipped over several times and Velasco, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected. He slid up against the raised asphalt curb on the other side of Highway 49 and sustained major head trauma, according to the CHP. His passengers, two men ages 48 and 27, were wearing seat belts and suffered minor injuries, CHP officials said.

Highway 49 had to be shut down in both directions to allow a CALSTAR helicopter to land. CHP officials said Velasco was flown to Sutter Roseville Medical Center, where he remained in critical condition Wednesday.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy