Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Local News

October 28, 2013

Wreck victim still ‘touch and go’

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — One life hangs in the balance after a horrific traffic accident this week that brought first responders of all kinds, including a medial helicopter, to the Pauls Valley scene.

Pauls Valley and now state officials have combined forces to investigate the two-vehicle accident Wednesday as one vehicle is reported to have swerved into the path of another causing the head-on collision on the west side of town.

For the moment the real focus is the condition of a PV woman critically injured in the wreck during the early evening hours of Oct. 23.

Tonja Pando, 23, was still listed Friday in critical condition as she remains in the intensive care unit at OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City.

“Right now her condition is touch and go,” said PV Assistant Police Chief Derrick Jolley, referring to the seriousness of the many injuries sustained by Pando.

Pando was the driver of a small dark gray car traveling northbound on Indian Meridian Road.

Riding inside as a passenger was Christian Baeza, 23, also of PV. Neither Pando or Baeza was believed to be wearing a seatbelt at the time.

A report released by PV police shows a second vehicle, a black sports utility vehicle, was coming from the opposite direction.

Driving the SUV was 24-year-old Matthew Imotichey of Wynnewood.

At one point the SUV went left of the road’s center line crossing into the path of the car driven by Pando as the two vehicles collided head-on, according to the report.

Officers at the scene reported Baeza was found seated in a ditch, where he appeared to be in “a lot of pain” but refused treatment until Pando was out of the vehicle.

At the time Pando was still pinned in the vehicle. She was freed within a few minutes by PV fire and rescue personnel.

She was then loaded into a helicopter and airlifted to the Oklahoma City hospital.

As officers went to check on Imotichey he was being helped out of his vehicle. They said he was slow to react, appeared dazed and his speech was slow.

Imotichey also had a small laceration on his forehead that officers said appeared to have come from him striking the windshield.

Although no official reason has been given for what caused the SUV to swerve into the path of Pando’s car, law enforcement officials at the wreck scene treated the situation as Imotichey possibly driving under the influence of some type of substance.

“Officers suspect the subject was under the influence of drugs or prescription pills,” Jolley said.

Imotichey was issued two citations, including driving while under the influence of an intoxicating substance.

As for the wreck’s investigation, Jolley said local police will get some assistance from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

“As for reconstructing the accident, we’ll turn to their expertise,” he said.

After the wreck Imotichey was first taken to Pauls Valley General Hospital and later transferred to OU Medical Center, where he was treated and released.

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