Sheriff's Office investigating if deadly HWY 168 crash was intentional act

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The two men killed in a car crash off Highway 168 have been identified as 20-year-old Austin Wagonlightnur and 19-year-old Aaron Beasley. (KFSN)

The two men killed in a car crash off Highway 168 have been identified as 20-year-old Austin Wagenleitner and 19-year-old Aaron Beasley. The only person to survive the crash-- 24-year-old Jason Kirby-- was pinned in the vehicle for 12 hours before rescuers got to him.

Sheriff's deputies said they are investigating the cause of the crash to determine if it was an accident but won't elaborate on why.

"He knows it went off the road, he doesn't remember anything than it getting off the road," said Scott Kirby, survivor's father.

Officers said the crash happened Monday night, and the truck wasn't spotted until Tuesday morning around 11am.

Jason's dad Scott told us the three men have been friends since high school and would go up the 168 quite a bit to go fishing or rock climbing. But soon after getting a call from one of the other victim's fathers that he hadn't heard from the group since Monday night Scott said he received a call that Jason was in the hospital.

Scott said Jason was the only one wearing a seat belt, and doctors told him without it, he wouldn't have survived either.

"I'm not religious but it makes you realize somebody else is in charge."

Jason was disoriented when crews got to the scene, and thought he had been down the embankment for eight days. His dad said he will be okay, but is suffering a multitude of broken bones and a concussion and has a long road to recovery ahead of him.

"It is critical, wear your seatbelts, period, slow down, on the mountain roads-- there's two lives that are lost because of it," said Scott.

Beasley's family released a statement to us that reads in part, "Aaron was full of life, smiles, laughter, kindness and love. Thank you for all of the prayers, love and support shown to us during this difficult time."

The Sheriff's Office said autopsies are being performed on the two victims and they are still looking into whether alcohol or drugs played a factor in the crash.
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traffic fatalitiesFresno CountySierra - FoothillsPratherShaver LakeClovis
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