1 teen dead, 3 critical in crash near Corcoran

November 1, 2012 12:54:34 AM PDT
A 17 year old from Corcoran is dead, and three others are critically hurt, injured in a crash on Halloween night. The California Highway Patrol is investigating that deadly rollover accident in Kings County.

The accident happened around 8:30 Wednesday night on Santa Fe Avenue near Oregon in Kings County.

Rosary beads have been left at the scene where clothing and car parts are still strewn about, nearly 100 feet from where a crash began and ended Halloween night.

CHP officers say the 17 year old driver lost control before the compact car left the shoulder and rolled several times. It ended up coming to rest upside down on railroad tracks.

"We don't know where they were going, we don't know where they were coming from, obviously they were headed away from town, so that's a big question," CHP Officer Jerry Pierce said. "There's a lot of questions we have and we're going to get them all answered."

Investigators say the driver and front passenger were wearing seatbelts and received minor injuries. But officers say none of the four passengers who piled into the backseat were restrained. Eduardo Garcia, 17, was ejected and died at the scene.

The high school senior attended an independent study school in Hanford called West Park Charter Academy. The mood was especially somber Thursday morning, since it's the day of the week Garcia normally reports to class. His longtime teacher says he always had a smile and was looking forward to graduating.

Jackie De La Cruz said, "He enjoyed working on cars since he wanted to be a diesel mechanic he would just hang out with his dad and work on cars."

Ivette Chaidez didn't know Garcia, but when she heard about the fatal crash, she couldn't hold back tears. Her 17 year old sister, Itzy died last year in a collision. She too was riding in the backseat with friends and wasn't wearing a seatbelt.

"It's not my family but since I feel the pain that happened, with an accident like that, I know what that family is going through," Chaidez said. "And it breaks my heart, it really does."

Chaidez is now on a campaign to remind young people about always wearing their seatbelt. She is even asking them to pledge to not get in a car without one.

"I wish kids understood that it's not a joke and you think it can't happen to you and it can," Chaidez said.

The CHP says alcohol was not a factor in the crash. So far the passengers, who are able, have been interviewed by investigators as they work to figure out what led to the tragic accident


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