CHP Investigates Triple Fatal Crash in Fresno County

Published 08/29 2014 06:37PM

Updated 08/29 2014 06:54PM

The CHP continues to investigate Thursday's deadly crash that killed three people in Fresno County near Caruthers at Floral and Elm Avenues.

The coroner has not yet identified the victims.

A total of 9 people and four vehicles were involved, when a driver ran a stop sign, hitting a minivan, which then spun and hit two other vehicles.

Those living in the area say they've seen too many accidents like that one.

Roadside memorials at Floral and Elm show where some recent traffic collisions have happened.

Since 2001, there have been three fatal accidents at this intersection, says CHP Officer Axel Reyes.

The CHP report shows that 23-year-old Blaze Gottfried of Clovis blew through the stop sign on Floral intersecting Elm Avenue while travelling westbound.

He struck a mini van carrying four people. Three died and the fourth was flown to Community Regional Medical Center.

Juan Sandoval lives nearby and picks grapes at the vineyard at Floral and Elm Avenues.

He tells us he's seen this van many times and believes it belongs to farm laborers.

"Because we saw the van all the time when they were working," Sandoval says.

He often sees cars zoom by or ignore the stop signs.

"People drive fast, and sometimes they think there's no stop right there," Sandoval says.

Sonny Gill saw the accident and ran out of his home to try to help.

"They really need to do something about it. Maybe put flashing lights on the stop sign or maybe put in a four way stop here. But they need to do something. There's at least two to three accidents, if not more, every month," Gill says.

The CHP has a record of 16 total accidents at the intersection since 2001, three of which are fatal, seven others are injury accidents, and six others involve property damage, according to Reyes.

But Reyes says this intersection isn't particularly problematic.

"Other instances we come across are people stop thinking the other traffic has a stop as well, and then they pull out in front of them basically violating the right of way," Reyes says.

The driver who started the chain reaction is cooperating with the investigation, and the CHP hasn't determined whether the driver will face any charges, Reyes says.

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