Child among 3 killed in southeast Fresno crash, woman hospitalized with critical injuries

Fresno police are seeing an increasing traffic deaths during the coronavirus pandemic, on pace for the most in decades.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Three people died, including a child, and a fourth is in critical condition after a crash in southeast Fresno on Thursday night.

The damage was obvious even without daylight.

Two crushed cars, one of them upside down and leaking gasoline, both of them now partly on the sidewalk on Maple.

"It was a horrific collision," said Fresno Police Sgt. Rich O'Dell. "It really was."

You could still see the marks of a tragedy on Friday: The memorial candles, the marking along the wall where one of the cars hit, pieces of the car on the wall, and even though police cleaned up, pieces of the cars here and for half a block.

Police suspect an intoxicated driver caused it, but they're waiting for the toxicology report to confirm it.

They say witnesses described Richard Blair-Rodriguez as driving about 100 miles per hour before he veered into oncoming traffic and killed 26-year-old Zaira Lamas and her partner's 10-year-old son, Armando Duran Hernandez.

The mother is in critical condition.

Action News found court documents showing a prior DUI in August 2019 for Rodriguez and a warrant out for his arrest since he never showed up in court.

But during the coronavirus pandemic, police say other factors are also driving up the number of traffic deaths.

"Our speeds are up because there aren't as many cars on the roadway and so when there aren't as many cars on the roadways, speeds always increase," said Sgt. O'Dell.

44 people have now died on Fresno roads in 2020, on pace for about 60 for the year - the most in at least the last 20 years.

Police say the best way to prevent these deaths are simple: Don't drink and drive, pay attention when you're driving, and control your speed.

"It's all the common sense stuff, but I think people just don't think it's going to happen to them," Sgt. O'Dell said.

But unfortunately, it can happen to anyone, including innocent victims.

The victims' family members have started a GoFundMe page to help pay for their funerals.
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