FRESNO COUNTY, California. (KGPE) – The Central Valley saw two separate triple fatal accidents on Saturday: one happened early in the morning in Caruthers; the other, in Traver.
Officials from California Highway Patrol say it’s part of an increase in accidents that’s been happening recently.
“We have had an increase in traffic collisions and a significant increase in DUIs. We are busier than we’ve virtually ever been,” said California Highway Patrol Sergeant Ryan Pedersen.
According to CHP, the first crash in Caruthers took place around 4:30 in the morning when a Ford Expedition veered off the road for unknown reasons, crashing into a tree and killing 29 y/o Ashley Arias, 35 y/o David Singh and 36 y/o Chad Dean. CHP says none of the three occupants were wearing their seatbelts and it is unknown if alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash.
The second crash took place around 2:30 in the afternoon near the area of Avenue 368 and Road 52. Pederson says a man driving a Toyota Camry drifted into the opposite lane of traffic and crashed head-on into a minivan, killing himself and the driver and backseat passenger of the minivan.
“Based on the collision and witness statements, we believe that he was traveling well in excess of the speed limit,” Pederson said.
Pederson says it appears everyone was wearing seatbelts, however, officers believe the driver of the Camry was under the influence of alcohol.
“The vehicle reeks of alcohol. The driver actually has a beer can right next to his hand, and there are several other alcohol containers within the vehicle itself,” he said.
There was another car involved in the crash in Traver but the people inside only suffered minor injuries. Pederson said CHP is doing all they can to stay on top of drivers under the influence but they need the public’s help.