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2 Sisters Killed In Tragic Black Friday Family Crash On Hwy. 101 In Palo Alto

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Nisha Tandel

Nisha Tandel

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PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — A second sister has died in the crash that killed a 24-year-old woman and hurt five others, including a California Highway Patrol officer,  on northbound U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto on Friday morning, according to the CHP.

The crash happened shortly after 7 a.m Friday morning as a family of six was heading home from a Black Friday shopping trip and their SUV collided with a CHP car.

Authorities  released the name of the 24-year old victim.  Nisha Tandel was ejected with another sister from the the backseat of the gold Lexus SUV when it crashed.  She died at the scene.  Her sister, Sheetal Tandel, 20, died Friday night at Stanford Hospital from her injuries, the CHP confirmed. 

Nisha Tandel was planning to be married in India, in January.

The San Bruno family of six was heading home from  Gilroy when their SUV crashed into the CHP vehicle pulled over on the right-hand side of the road. According CHP Officer Amelia Jack, the father was driving, the mother was in the passenger seat and four sisters, ages 12 to 24, were sitting in the back seats.

The CHP has also identified Nisha’s father as 48-year-old Arvin Tandel and two other sisters, 22-year old Payal and a 12-year old whose name is not being released.  All three are listed in stable condition at Valley Medical Center, in San Jose. The mother, Yogita Tandel was taken to Stanford hospital and remains in very serious condition.

Before the crash, the CHP vehicle driven by CHP Officer Matis had pulled up next to a broken-down white Ford F-350 pickup truck that was pulled over on the right-hand shoulder, Jack said.

After speaking to the truck’s occupants, Matis pulled up in front of the truck, which is when the SUV swerved into the shoulder for unknown reasons and hit the left side of the parked patrol vehicle, Jack said.

The SUV then flipped multiple times before coming to a rest on its wheels near the Embarcadero Road off-ramp after the two sisters were ejected.

The 24-year-old and 12-year-old sisters were not wearing seatbelts, according to the CHP. The other four family members were buckled up.

The CHP officer had put up a flashing arrowboard while he was pulled over completely onto the highway’s shoulder, according to the CHP.

CHP Officer Matis suffered a cut and bruise to his face. He was the sole occupant in the vehicle. He was taken to a hospital where he was treated. The officer has since been released, Jack said.

Drugs and alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the fatal collision, investigators said.

Following the crash, traffic was backed up as far south as the junction with state Highway 85, about 5 miles away, with lane closures in effect for more than six hours until about 1 p.m., Jack said.

The nearby on- and off-ramps were closed until about 4:15 p.m., according to the CHP.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved.)

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