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CHP searches for driver who caused accident that killed 5; 1 arrest made

November 14, 2010 |  9:27 am
Five killed in crash with 7 motorcycles

Authorities Sunday morning were searching for a driver who they believe caused an accident in Imperial County that killed five people and injured six.

Four of the dead belonged to a Lakeside motorcycle club called the Saddle Tramps, according to CHP Officer Deeann Goudie. Goudie told The Times that the club was celebrating its 10th anniversary Saturday with a ride across the desert.

The members met at 9 a.m. for breakfast in Lakeside before getting on the road, Goudie told The Times. They were riding east on Route 98 near Ocotillo, about 80 miles out of San Diego, when a gold Honda Accord revved up behind them and tried to pass. Authorities believe the Honda driver caused the crash, but the driver fled from the scene.

A white Dodge Avenger coming from the opposite direction swerved to avoid the oncoming Honda, lost control and then crashed into the pack of motorcycles.

Four motorcyclists -- including a husband-and-wife team who were riding the same bike -- were killed, Goudie said. A passenger in the Avenger was also killed.

CHP officials told the Associated Press on Sunday that the driver of the Avenger, who suffered injuries, was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. But officials said they don't consider him responsible for the accident because the Honda forced him off the road.

Several of the people who were injured were airlifted to hospitals.

The gold Honda that tried to pass the motorcycles did not suffer any damage. Goudie said. She said authorities did not know the year of the car or the license plate number. Witnesses said the driver was a man wearing a baseball cap.

 -- Kate Linthicum

Photo: Scene of accident in Imperial County. KTLA News