UPDATE: Motorcyclist hurt in Sierra Highway crash listed in critical condition

Stock, CHP, California, Highway, Patrol
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A motorcyclist was rushed to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Thursday night with life-threatening injuries after colliding with a car on Sierra Highway.

Richard Romero, 50, of Santa Clarita, suffered “major injuries” in the crash, California Highway Patrol Officer Josh Greengard told The Signal Friday morning.

“He is here and he is in critical condition,” Patrick Moody, spokesman for Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, told The Signal at 4:45 p.m. Friday.

The crash happened about 9:15 p.m. Thursday when a motorist identified by CHP officers as Kimberlee Paniza, 23, of Canyon Country, was driving a 2006 Chrysler Sebring north on Sierra Highway, south of Sand Canyon Road, Greengard said.

Romero, operating a 2014 Yamaha V-Star motorcycle, was also driving north on Sierra Highway, south of Sand Canyon Road, he said.

“Preliminary investigation determined the (car) driver made a U-Turn directly into the path of (the motorcycle).  The motorcycle collided with car, ejecting Romero from the motorcycle, onto the roadway, Greengard said in a news release issued early Friday morning.

“Party One (Paniza) attempted to flee the scene by continuing to travel southbound on Sierra Highway,” he said in the report.

By the time CHP officers arrived at the crash, deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department had already detained Paniza, he said.

Deputies then “handed Paniza over to CHP at which time, CHP officers on scene noticed symptoms of alcohol intoxication and was subsequently arrested for suspicion of DUI,” Greengard said.

Romero was rushed to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital with major life-threatening injuries.

Paniza was arrested by CHP officers on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol shortly after 11 p.m. and booked into custody at 3 a.m. Friday, according to records maintained by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Her bail was set at $100,000.

She is scheduled to appear in San Fernando Superior Court Monday.

This collision is still under investigation.

The CHP Newhall Officer M. Hernandez was identified as the investigating CHP officer investigating the collision.

Sierra Highway was closed between Sand Canyon Road and Fitch Street for approximately 2 hours after the collision to process the scene.

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