Deadly head-on crash in Madera Co.

FRESNO, Calif.

The accident happened just before 3 p.m. near State Route 145 on Highway 41.

The highway is back open but it was shut down for more than two hours after one car attempted to pass slow moving traffic in the southbound lanes on Highway 41.

The California Highway Patrol says the driver of this small Mazda was trying to pass a car in front of it. The CHP says traffic was moving at about 50 miles per hour.

When the Mazda moved into the left hand lane it slammed into a blue Ford Escape head on. The two cars spun around and the Escape ended up on its side along the shoulder of the highway. And the driver in the SUV had to be cut out of her seat by the fire department.

She was taken to the hospital along with a passenger in the Mazda.

The driver of that Mazda, sadly, died at the scene. "Passing is allowed right here. It just has to be done in a safe manor. And on a weekend, there's a lot of traffic out here during the weekend," Officer Austin Matulomis said.

The accident caused a major traffic back up along Highway 41. Both lanes of the highway had to be shut down for a few hours south of Road 145.

The two people who survived the accident are being looked at by doctors at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.

The extent of their injuries are not know right now and investigators tell Action News, it does not appear that drugs or alcohol played a roll in this deadly crash.

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