Kern County Accident Kills Fresno Woman

September 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
An accident west of Shafter left a 22-year old Fresno woman dead this holiday weekend.The California Highway Patrol said the woman ran a stop sign and was possibly on her cell phone at the time.

Emotion comes in waves for Elodia Castillo. The mother of 6 is overwhelmed with grief one day after her 22-year old daughter died in an accident. "She doesn't know what to do. Nobody's prepared for something like this. She was the most super person you could meet," said Elodia Castillo.

California Highway Patrol officers said Alejandra Alvarez Pantoja was thrown from her Honda accord when she ran a stop sign and was hit by a pick-up truck. The accident split her car in two. Officers said she was wearing a seat belt but the force of the crash was too much.

"These are the type of accidents that we in law enforcement get to and immediately our jaws drop and there's going to be something bad here," said Don Clotworthy with the California Highway Patrol.

In between hugs and tears, loved ones have questions they may never get answered. Friends told them Pantoja was on her way back to Fresno Sunday morning, but she was way off the path to Highway 99.

Alejandra's brother Jose Alvarez said: "She ended up west of Shafter, you know 30 minutes away from Highway 99. What, what happened? How did she end up out there? What was her reasons for being right there at that moment?"

A witness, who lives near the rural intersection rushed to help, but Pantoja was already gone. Patricia Rodriguez said it's something she'll never forget. "Upset. This is my first time going through all this and even though I didn't know the girl, I hope she rests in peace."

Investigators believe Pantoja may have been on a cell phone during the accident, that's another thing bothering her family.

Sunday evening Pantoja's family thanked the witness who called 911 and reached out to their loved one, when they couldn't.

Three people in the pickup truck, including a child, suffered minor injuries. Alejandra's family is now trying to raise enough money to bring her body back to Fresno.

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