A Carmel-By-The-Sea resident who died after her vehicle hit a tree on Wednesday night was not wearing a seatbelt, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Joan Michele, 69, was driving a brown 2004 Nissan Murano when her vehicle hit the tree. She was declared dead at the scene after medics tried to administer CPR, Officer Jessica Madueno said.
The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office identified Michele as the crash victim this morning.
Madueno said there might have been a better outcome if Michele was wearing her seatbelt when she traveled through the intersection of Carmel Valley Road and Carmel Knolls Drive, veered left and hit a tree.
The crash was reported at approximately 9:20 p.m. and there were witnesses present but the CHP did not release further information about the crash.
Madueno said the tree separates the eastbound and westbound lanes of Carmel Valley Road and if Michele had not struck it first, she could have crossed over into oncoming traffic and hit another car head-on.
Michele was the only occupant of the car, Madueno said.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation at this time.