Investigators say alcohol involved in fatal crash near Porterville


Chad Hansen survived the accident and is still in the hospital.

Chad Hansen's family and friends are rallying around him as he is being treated at Kaweah Delta Medical center. The California Highway Patrol says they believe alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Burnt flare sticks from the CHP charred the road at Avenue 176 near Mountain road 178 outside of Strathmore after a Friday night crash killed two people and sent another to the hospital. The California Highway Patrol says a Chevy Cobalt with two people inside crashed head-on with a Chevy Tahoe driven by Springville resident Chad Hansen. The crash caused the Chevy Cobalt to catch fire.

"And at that point it looks like gas was leaking out of the cobalt and that's what started the fire," Officer Mike Smith with the California Highway Patrol said.

Officer Mike Smith says the two people in the Cobalt were trapped inside. The coroner's office will be relying on dental records and DNA to positively identify the individuals. While family members wait for an official word, investigators say it looks like the 22 and 23-year-old driver and passenger of the Chevy Cobalt were drinking.

"We had seen beer cans in the vehicle, in the Chevy Cobalt and there was some beer cans at the scene and the family that the investigating officers had spoken with said everybody had been drinking at the lake," Smith said.

Husband and father of four, Chad Hansen was the driver of the Chevy Tahoe. Hansen works as a Sales Category Manager for Homegrown Organics based out of Porterville. Homegrown says they are praying for his full recovery. Hansen is also receiving prayers from his pastor, Jon Strickland, who has been visiting his family at the hospital every day since the crash.

"His family is doing very well you can imagine his wife is exhausted but she's doing great they are encouraged by chad's progress," Strickland said.

Strickland said Monday for the first time since the accident chad was able to speak.

"Kelley's been very thankful just seeing the progress of chad being taken off the ventilator breathing on his own responding to questions so she's very encouraged by that," Strickland said.

Hansen's friends say he has a long recovery ahead of him. They say they are also thinking of the families of the two people who died in the crash.

Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.