Man recalls moments before a suspect fleeing police crashes into him on Highway 41

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According to the CHP, the suspect was fleeing police when she ended up sideswiping a car and then smashing head-on into Ernest Rodrigues' truck, and he says he is truly lucky to be alive. (KFSN)

A car crash survivor is speaking out Monday about his head-on encounter with a suspect in a high-speed chase in Madera County.

The crash caused traffic delays for hours on Highway 41 during the evening commute after a woman attempted to elude the California Highway Patrol and crossed the median near Valley Children's Hospital.

The CHP says that woman was going almost 100 miles per hour when an officer started chasing her. She ended up sideswiping a car and then smashing head-on into Ernest Rodrigues' truck, and he says he is truly lucky to be alive.

"I kind of remember seeing the lady's face coming towards me," he said.

A sore neck and bruised ribs are his only injuries after stepping out of a truck that's now a mangled wreck. He was driving to work on southbound Highway 41 near Avenue 12 when a suspect in a high-speed chase clipped a car in front of him.

"And that car started spinning out so I tried to move over to avoid that car and that's when I hit," Rodrigues recalled.

A CHP officer started chasing the woman after she was seen speeding near the Fresno-Madera County line. Her car was completely mangled after hitting Rodrigues' truck and she lost her life.

"I seen the highway patrol," Rodrigues said. "They were running to the car with their guns drawn towards the lady, but I kind of figured there was no way she could survive that kind of impact."

The other victim whose car was clipped also had minor injuries. But despite the damage and destruction that suspect caused, Rodrigues says he can't stop thinking about her final moments.

"I feel bad," he said. "She lost her life and whatever she has done. You couldn't think it would be that bad."

Traffic was diverted and backed up for hours while crews investigated the scene that spanned the width of the 41.
Related Topics:
newscar crashpolice chasemadera countyMadera County
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