CHP investigating big rig crash that killed 16-year-old Washington Union student

Local News

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – 16-year-old Ernesto Garin was a student and football player at Washington Union High School who was killed in a crash with a big rig shortly before 7:00 p.m. Thursday night at the intersection of Walnut and Jefferson in Fresno County.

“Due to the severity of the crash, the pickup truck was wedged underneath the semi-truck, and it took quite some time to be able to release that truck from underneath,” said CHP Officer Mike Salas. “It was a very traumatic, very traumatic accident.”

Salas said the big rig, which was heading north on Walnut, did have a stop sign; the pick-up truck, going west on Jefferson, did not have a stop sign. Investigators are still working to determine if the big-rig driver stopped or slowed down before going into the path of the pick-up in the intersection.

“If we find that the driver was negligent and pulled out directly in front of that vehicle without stopping, without clearing that intersection, he can face charges of vehicular manslaughter,” said Salas.

Salas said the driver of the big rig was a 35-year-old man from Fresno, working for JN Transport, Inc. Officials have ruled out any type of impairment, but they are still investigating if he may have been distracted.

A memorial has since been set up at the crash site as the community mourns the loss of a young life.

“You see the tears, you see the effects and emotion that a tragedy like this has on not only a school, but a community,” said Salas. “It takes some time to get over it, and we’re here to help provide the family with some closure and to answer those questions that we know are in the minds of a lot of people out there.”

The Washington Union football team was supposed to play their home opener against Kingsburg High School on Friday night, but the game was canceled. Instead, a vigil for Ernesto will be held at the stadium.

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