Crashes on rural roads leave 5 dead, including 19-year-old hit by suspected DUI big rig driver
Five people died in crashes on rural roads Friday night and early Saturday in the central San Joaquin Valley, including a 19-year-old Fresno woman killed when a big rig driver allegedly ran a stop sign while under the influence of marijuana.
The victim in that Friday night crash was identified by the Fresno County Coroner’s Office as Olivia Mendoza, 19.
Andre Hill Jr., 31, of Baltimore, identified as the big rig driver, was arrested on suspicion of DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter.
California Highway Patrol spokesman Mike Salas said the crash happened around 7:10 p.m. just outside Selma, at the intersection of Mountain View and Clovis avenues.
CHP says Hill was northbound on Clovis Avenue and did not stop at a stop sign before slamming into the Honda Civic that Mendoza was driving westbound on Mountain View.
Hill’s big rig was carrying about 80,000 pounds of produce.
After hitting the Honda, Hill continued northward and later struck another big rig head-on, Salas said.
Hill was in the Fresno County Jail with total bail set at $98,500. He and the other big rig driver did not suffer major injuries.
HEAD-ON WITH BIG RIG IN MADERA COUNTY
One man was killed Saturday morning after crashing head-on with a big rig in Madera County.
According to CHP Sgt. Lincoln McKenna, the crash happened around 4:45 a.m. on Avenue 21 west of Road 26.
McKenna said a 1995 Chevrolet pickup was traveling eastbound on Avenue 21, when for an unknown reason, the vehicle crossed over into the westbound lane and collided head-on with a tractor-trailer rig.
The 39-year-old male driver of the Chevy was pronounced dead at the scene. His name was not released, pending notification of next of kin.
The driver of the semi truck sustained no injuries.
No other passengers were in the vehicles, which both sustained major damage.
Drugs or alcohol were not involved, McKenna said.
SOLO CRASH NEAR CARUTHERS
A 28-year-old Riverdale man died early Saturday morning after his pickup rolled over and crashed into a field near Caruthers.
He has been identified as Jesus Delgado Rodriguez.
CHP spokesman Lenny Sherman said the crash happened around 4:30 a.m. on Elm Avenue near Kamm Avenue.
When officers arrived they found a 2004 Chevy Silverado truck in a jalapeno pepper field.
Sherman said evidence showed that Delgado Rodriguez was traveling southbound on Elm when his vehicle started going off the roadway and rolled over. The driver was ejected about 20 feet from the vehicle.
Delgado Rodriguez was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders.
Officers found beer cans inside the vehicle and suspect alcohol may have been a factor.
No other passengers were in the vehicle.
TWO KILLED NEAR HANFORD
Two people were killed in a South Valley crash involving a farming vehicle Friday night.
A tractor-trailer collided with a Cadillac sedan on Grangeville Boulevard and 7th Avenue east of Hanford just before 8 p.m.. According to preliminary CHP reports, the Cadillac ran a stop sign while traveling north on 7th Avenue.
The driver and a passenger in the Cadillac died. The driver of the tractor trailer had minor injuries.
The CHP closed a portion of Grangeville Boulevard to investigate the crash.
A power pole also was struck, and Southern California Edison was called to investigate.