FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – An attorney for the family of the young woman who was killed in a crash involving a tow truck on Friant Road in Fresno has filed a civil complaint in the Fresno County Superior Court on Friday.
The complaint alleges the driver of the tow truck, John Ashcraft, who was employed by 1st Class Tow, had taken a controlled substance within 24 hours before the crash that killed 22-year-old Amaya Chenot. The crash happened on April 12th in the early morning hours. No criminal charges have been filed.
Attorney Warren Paboojian is representing Amaya’s mother Kimberly Chenot. The complaint does not say what substance Ashcraft allegedly took and it does not go into detail about how they knew Ashcraft was under the influence at the time of the crash. The complaint is seeking monetary damages for medical bills and burial costs and damages for a wrongful death. It does not say how much money they are seeking.
We reached out to 1st Class Tow and tried contacting Ashcraft but no statements were given.
Britzy Salazar said she had been friends with Chenot since the two were freshmen in high school. Their friendship was cut short the morning of the accident. She said she remembers how she found out about the crash.
“My initial thought was not Amaya, not Amaya, because she was a super good driver,” Salazar said.
Chenot’s funeral was held this weekend, and now an even bigger memorial can be seen at the scene of the crash.
Video of the crash captured by Dan Wells with the website Friant Roulette shows the tow truck driver driving north on Friant and running the red light. The video shows the light had looked red for many seconds.
Salazar said whatever the case is, how the crash happened if the driver was impaired or not, her friend is still gone.
“Her life was taken because of the simple fact that they decided not to stop at the light,” she said adding, “his reaction was just so slow, he did not even try to attempt to stop, she was already even in front of him when he even hit his brakes.”
Wells said since the wreck, he has noticed more police officers at the intersection on his camera. He said he checks it regularly and says there’s been a crash there since the deadly crash last month. Still despite this, he said drivers aren’t changing their behavior.
“Nothing has changed in the way the red light runners have not slowed down, we’re constantly seeing, we monitor it and it is catching red light runners constantly,” Wells said.
Wells said next week he plans to meet with city leaders including some council members about what they can do to make the intersection safer. He said he’d like to see longer delays with the red lights, giving drivers more of a wait time before their light turns green.