Five dead in crash on HWY 33 south of Mendota

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Highway 33 south of Mendota was closed for hours Tuesday, as officials surveyed the scene of a fiery and deadly crash. (KFSN)

Highway 33 south of Mendota was closed for hours Tuesday, as officials surveyed the scene of a fiery and deadly crash.

The California Highway Patrol says a 2009 Mercedes SUV was headed east on Manning Avenue, when according to multiple witnesses, it ran a stop sign, traveling into the path of a tractor trailer going north on Highway 33.

"The big rig collided into the Mercedes," said CHP Sgt. Matt Zulim. "They both traveled off the road and overturned. There were five people in the Mercedes and we have five fatalities out of the Mercedes...absolute tragedy."

The driver of the big rig is in critical condition at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. He's been identified as 58-year-old Wayne Fletcher of Dinuba.

Sgt. Zulim says this is the worst wreck he has seen. Alcohol and drugs are not believed to have played a role in the crash.

Sgt. Zulim says the big rig was hauling gravel.

"When the trailer of the big rig landed on top of the Mercedes, the Mercedes caught fire and was fully engulfed," Sgt. Zulim said.

The Fresno County Coroner's Office says all five victims were adult men, and are believed to be from out of the area. The CHP says the driver was a 63-year-old man from Hayward.

"I hate to come out to these type of scenes, it's an absolute tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and the loved ones they lost," Sgt. Zulim said.

Related Topics:
traffic fatalitiestraffic accidentFresno County
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