MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — A fiery head-on crash left two dead and three injured along Highway 145 near Madera Ranchos, early Saturday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.
A 29-year-old man from Hollister was driving a 2015 Chrysler 300 westbound on Highway 145 east of Road 38 around 2:40 a.m. at an unknown rate of speed, Officer Scott Jobinger said.
At the same time, a 37-year-old Madera woman was driving a 2003 Honda Accord eastbound on Highway 145 approaching the same location at an unknown speed.
The crash occurred when the driver of the Chrysler tried to pass a motorist and collided head-on into the Accord, Jobinger said. The Chrysler then traveled off the north shoulder of the highway, through a barbed-wire fence and overturned.
Jobinger said the vehicle came to rest on its wheels in a cattle pasture and burst into flames.
The Accord spun in a clockwise rotation and came to rest partially blocking the eastbound lane of Highway 145.
Both drivers involved in the crash were pronounced dead at the scene, Jobinger said.
Two passengers in the Honda suffered major injuries and were airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno for treatment.
Jobinger said the passenger in the Chrysler also suffered major injuries and was transported by ambulance to CRMC.
The highway was closed for about four hours as officers investigated the crash and cleaned up the scene.
The CHP said it was unknown at this time if alcohol and or drugs were a factor in the crash.
The collision remains under investigation.