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Clearlake driver seriously hurt in crash; 2 flown to hospital

A Clearlake man was in critical condition Monday after an oncoming driver swerved into his lane and the vehicles collided, skidding into Howard's Grotto in Clearlake, police said.

An air ambulance flew Edward Gonzales, 49, to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with serious head injuries, including a large nasal fracture, Clearlake Sgt. Tim Hobbs said.

Gonzalez was heading west on Lakeshore Drive in a red Jeep Cherokee when he was struck by an oncoming vehicle just after 11:10 a.m. Monday, Hobbs said.

Moments before the crash, several 911 callers reported a red pickup was speeding and driving recklessly on Lakeshore Drive, Hobbs said.

Police suspect oncoming driver Joe Cook, 26, of Kentucky, lost control of the red Chevrolet S10 pickup as he headed eastbound, and crashed into the Cherokee.

The vehicles crashed into the restaurant and the impact ejected rocks from the back of Gonzalez' pickup and damaged a Ford Explorer parked nearby. Firefighters extricated both men from the vehicles. They were both flown to Memorial Hospital.

Cook sustained several broken ribs, dislocated toes and a mild head injury in the crash, Hobbs said.

Lakeshore Drive was closed until about 2:30 p.m.

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