A 14 year old Eureka girl was killed in a fatal accident on Interstate 5 Sunday afternoon when the car she was driving in tumbled down an embankment between the Lassen Lane overpass and the North Mt. Shasta Boulevard exit.

A 14 year old Eureka girl was killed in a fatal accident on Interstate 5 Sunday afternoon when the car she was driving in tumbled down an embankment between the Lassen Lane overpass and the North Mt. Shasta Boulevard exit.
                  
The driver, Bernice Butterfield, 33, of Fort Jones, was driving a 1997 Ford Expedition southbound at approximately 65 miles per hour when she attempted to merge into the right lane, said California Highway Patrol officer Jered Blankenship.

As she did so, the driver noticed there was a vehicle in her blind spot, and steered to the left, toward the center divider, Blankenship said. She then overcorrected, causing the Expedition to cross over the right lane and tumble end over end down an embankment at approximately 2:20 p.m.

Agencies including the CHP, Weed CAL?FIRE, the Mount Shasta Fire Protection District, Mt. Shasta Ambulance, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department and the Mount Shasta Police Department responded.

Butterfield and four passengers, including John Harris, 34, Jarimiah Smith, 18, and two male juveniles, ages six and nine, all from Fort Jones, were taken to Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta with multiple major injuries. The 14 year old was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, Blankenship said. Her name is being withheld until her family can be notified.

Harris was later flown to Mercy Medical Center Redding, Blankenship said.

At the time of the accident, Interstate 5 was experiencing heavy traffic flow due to Thanksgiving holiday traffic, said Blankenship. Everyone inside the vehicle was wearing seatbelts, he added.

“All occupants were properly restrained which prevented them from sustaining more serious injuries, however, the nature of the collision and the severe extent of damage to the rear of the vehicle” caused fatal injuries to the passenger, according to a CHP press release regarding the accident.

“The staff at the Mt. Shasta CHP office is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in this collision and asks that everyone take that extra time and effort to drive safely this holiday season,” the release states.