2 dead, 1 injured in Madera County suspected DUI crash

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Two men from Madera are dead and one is critically injured after a head on crash on a rural Madera County road. (KFSN)

Two men from Madera are dead and one is critically injured after a head-on crash on a rural Madera County road.

Twenty-three-year-old Derek Sharp died in the crash. His passenger is still alive but suffered major injuries. Doctors have been working to stabilize Travis Adams all day. He is currently in critical condition Community Regional Medical Center. Investigators said the man who caused the crash also died. CHP officers believe the driver who slammed into Adams and his friend was driving drunk.

Flowers and candles rest along Highway 145 east of Road 29-- the place where two lives came to an end Wednesday night. The metal was so twisted and smashed, it was hard to believe anyone made it out of the GMC Jimmy alive. "At this point we believe, based on witness statements and the way the vehicles were placed at the scene, the Escape crossed over the center line into the eastbound lane," said Greg Rodriguez, California Highway Patrol.

Investigators believe the man behind the wheel of the Ford-- 42-year-old Angel Armando Ramirez Balbuena-- may have been drinking prior to causing the deadly crash. "I believe there's beer cans, or beer bottles, in the back seat that were located on arrival," said Rodriguez.

Family friends said Sharp and his friend, Adams, were headed to Table Mountain Casino when the crash occurred. A close friend was in a car in front of the two but was able to avoid the collision.

Sharp's family has had a tough week and is grieving the loss of his stepdad who died last week and was buried Thursday. Family members were too upset to talk about Derek.

Officers will now be interviewing Balbuena's friends and family members-- trying to figure out where he was in the hours leading up to the horrific crash. His blood alcohol content has not yet been released.

Balbuena was alone in his car. The speed limit at the crash scene is 55 miles an hour.

At the hospital, Adams family is at his bedside hoping he is able to pull through.

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