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Five Die in Calif. Motor Home Crash

February 22, 1998

BARSTOW, Calif. (AP) _ The five couples _ all members of the same family _ had just finished a Valentine’s cruise to Mexico and agreed to drive the motor home in shifts back to Utah to avoid getting road weary.

But as some played Scrabble in the back, the driver apparently fell asleep, crashing and killing five people, authorities said. Five others were injured, and three of them remained in critical condition Saturday, hospital officials said.

The accident occurred Friday afternoon when the motor home drifted into the median of Interstate 15 in the Mojave Desert, about 120 miles northeast of Los Angeles, and hit an emergency crossover road.

The chassis became embedded in the 10-foot-high crossover, while the passenger compartment separated, flipping up and over the crossover lane.

The motor home was owned by Clemont Atwood, 75, and riding with him were his wife, their son and three daughters and their children’s spouses. They had all been on a cruise to Mexico that left Los Angeles on Valentine’s Day.

Atwood and his wife, Marcella, of Hurricane, Utah, were among the dead. Also killed were the driver, Joseph Jewkes Jr., 68, and his wife Karen of Sandy, Utah, and Cleora Clark, 50, of Price Utah.

Three others were in critical condition Saturday at hospitals in the area, one passenger was in stable condition and another was released after treatment of minor injuries.

``Taking a vacation together was just the kind of thing they would consider and when they saw a good deal on cruise tickets they jumped at the chance,″ said Leon Davis, bishop of the family’s ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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