SELMA, Calif. - A violent crash in Fresno County has claimed the lives of three young men.
The car crash happened just outside of Selma, near Dinuba and McCall Avenues around 5am Sunday morning. The California Highway Patrol said speed and alcohol may have played a factor in the crash. Four people from Kingsburg were in the car, but three died. The passenger who survived the crash has been identified as 21-year old Cole Contreras. The CHP said he escaped with only minor injuries.
More than 100 people gathered at the Memorial Park in Kingsburg on Sunday night to remember the victims.
CHP Sgt. Joseph Bianchi said a Mazda MX6 came around the corner too fast early Sunday morning at Del Rey Avenue and Ditch Avenue near Selma, and somehow the car flipped into the canal. Frank Gutierrez said the guys in the car were his best friends.
He said, "I love those guys. Growing up with them, playing baseball, football, soccer, anything. Like those were my best friends."
Gutierrez said he's heartbroken.
"I just came to pay my respects, I guess. This is where my friends were at, last alive," said Gutierrez at the scene of the crash.
Investigators said the driver was not wearing a seatbelt. Neither was one of the passengers who died.
Bianchi said, "The things that we're investigating at this point are speed and possible alcohol involvement."
Bianchi could not say if the victims died from the impact of the crash or from drowning. But, he said the crash is a warning to others.
"It's an obvious tragic reminder that, like I said, if alcohol is a factor in this, which we are investigating... drinking and driving it's not worth it," ended Bianchi.
Gutierrez said family of the three men killed are grieving, along with the community.
He said, "You can only imagine. Like they're not, they're not doing too well."