3 Killed in Madera County Traffic Accident

August 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Three women were killed and two others were seriously injured when the car they were in was hit head-on by a pickup truck on Highway 41.The incident occurred in Madera County near the intersection of Road 208, near the 22 Mile House convenience store.

The Highway Patrol reports a pickup truck driven by Justin Rice, of Ventura, was heading South on the two lane highway when it veered into the Northbound lane. Witnesses said the car carrying the women appeared to swerve onto the shoulder, but was unable to avoid the collision.

All five women in the car were believed to be employees of the Chuckchansi Gold Casino, and witnesses told officers the women were on their way to work when the accident occurred.

The Highway Patrol says at least four of the women in the car were from Madera. The three who died were all in their late 30's. The two survivors include the driver of the car. They were airlifted to a Fresno hospital.

The driver of the truck, Justin Rice sustained only minor injuries. He has been charged with three counts of vehicular manslaughter and the Highway Patrol says he appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance.

Rice is 34, he is being held in the Madera County Jail.

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