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Coroner identifies victims of deadly crash on Highway 178, near Yankee Canyon, Monday

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Posted at 3:41 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 19:30:19-04

LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. — The Kern county Coroner identified the three victims of a deadly crash on Highway 178 Monday.

According to the coroner, Elissa Renee Pappas, 34, was the driver of the 1998 Ford Escort that collided with another vehicle on Highway 178 near Yankee Canyon. The driver and passenger of the other vehicle, a 2002 Toyota Tacoma, died from their injuries.

The coroner identified the driver of the Tacoma as 84-year-old Henry Milton Liebel and the passenger as 78-year-old Sandra Merle Liebel.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Pappas was driving westbound near Yankee Canyon when she entered a left-hand curve on the roadway and lost control due to her unsafe speed. CHP said she then entered the eastbound lane, colliding head-on with the Tacoma.

This deadly crash played a part in closing down the 178 Monday evening for several hours. Not long after this crash, a second incident happened nearby when a single vehicle rolled over on the roadway and sparked a brush fire near the canyon.

Fire crews from several agencies, including the Kern County Fire Department, responded to the scene and worked to control the blaze. KCFD last reported Monday night that the blaze burned 12 acres and crews reached 50% containment. Firefighters with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management worked overnight to help strengthen containment lines and extinguish hotspots.