DJ Becker/NewsMadera.com August 17th 2014
Madera Ranchos A head on rollover collision, on State Route 145 killed a man in his mid to late 20’s, Sunday about 12:40 pm, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Authorities identified the fatality as 25-year-old Caleb Ryan Koop, of Fresno.
Four to five other people sustained minor to moderate injures in the high impact crash, and one was airlifted by Lifeflight helicopter to CRMC.
Distracted driving is under investigation as a factor in the fatality. No evidence of alcohol was found at the scene and toxicology reports are pending.
CHP Sgt Lincoln McKenna said the man was driving solo in a Mitsubishi Mirage sedan westbound in weekend traffic at 55 to 60 mph, two miles west of State Route 41, when he drifted out of his lane and directly into oncoming traffic.
“We have a witness behind him that said he just started to drift over into eastbound lane and collided with a westbound Ford F250 pickup truck pulling a boat. The driver of the pickup truck saw the Mitsubishi in her lane and attempted to move to the south shoulder but she was unable to fully avoid the impact.” McKenna said.
Officers said the man had no identification on him and may not have been wearing a seat belt.
The left front of the pickup collided with the left front of the Mitsubishi, killing the driver at the scene. The force of the impact bounced the car backward and spun it, but the car remained upright in the roadway, McKenna said.
“The pickup truck went off the roadway and rolled over, injuring a group of girls in their mid 20’s … six, possibly seven girls from Chowchilla, in the truck. Our info is they may have been going Millerton, or another local lake for the day,” McKenna said.
The rollover also took about about 60 feet of barbed wire fence but the boat remained upright.
“Several of the female back passengers were also not wearing seatbelts and sustained cuts, bruises and road rash from contact with the ground, through the broken truck windows … as the truck rolled. One was very fortunate .. she wasn’t further ejected out and killed,” McKenna said.
The collision backed up and detoured area traffic. State Route 145 was closed for about two hours as emergency personnel and CHP worked to treat the injured, and clear and investigate the scene.
Drivers need to buckle up, slow down and focus on the roadway, he said.