Fresno County residents on South Elm Avenue are fed up with accidents


The latest accident at Nebraska and Elm avenues killed one man and an unborn baby

FRESNO COUNTY, California (KSEE) — The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office revealed an unborn baby also died because of a suspected DUI crash on Friday. Neighbors in the area it happened say changes need to be made to prevent the next one.

Wrecked cars and the debris they leave behind is a common sight for Filemon Esquivel, who’s lived near Nebraska and Elm avenues for six years.

But, just because he’s used to seeing it all, doesn’t make it any easier.

“My neighbor called me, said there was an accident,” Esquivel recalled of Friday’s accident. “[They said] it was fatal. It’s just bad, you know.”

California Highway Patrol said 39-year-old Hector Cortes was driving a red pickup truck when he ran the stop sign on Nebraska Avenue Friday afternoon. He then collided with a car going south on Elm Avenue, where there is no stop sign.

Four adults were in the other car, ranging in ages 23 to 79. They all were taken to Community Regional Medical Center with moderate to major injuries. One of the victims was pregnant and had an emergency caesarean section. The baby later died.

Investigators say evidence at the scene suggests Cortes had alcohol in his system.

Esquivel said he and his neighbors have wanted changes at the intersection for a while. One thing they want is blinking lights on the stop signs, like the signs at Elm and Floral avenues.

Makeshift memorials at that intersection showcase its deadly history. However, Esquivel said the blinkers have made a difference there.

Until those changes come, though, CHP advises drivers to remain cautious while on rural roads.

“When you’re coming up to these intersections without a stop sign for you, just take an extra minute. Slow down, you just never know what’s coming,” said Mike Salas, public information officer for CHP’s Fresno branch. “You never know if that vehicle traveling on the opposite side is going to stop for the stop sign. So, just give it an extra minute.”

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