Calls for Highway 41 expansion after deadly crash involving child in Kings County

The woman driving the van and three children passengers suffered major injuries. One child died.

Monday, September 12, 2022
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At least two have died, including one child, and multiple others were reported injured, according to the California Highway Patrol.

KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Wreckage remains on the side of Highway 41 near Quebec Avenue just north of Kettleman City.

Sunday night around 7 pm, the California Highway Patrol says the driver of a white sedan was attempting to pass several vehicles when he misjudged the space he had and crashed head-on with a van.

He died at the scene.

The woman driving the van and three children passengers suffered major injuries. One child died.

"This is another tragic example of what happens too often on these unsafe gaps in our highway system," says Assemblymember Jim Patterson.

Patterson has been an advocate for expanding Highway 41 to at least two lanes in both directions all the way through.

He says his office checked in with Caltrans and found there are no projects planned for this area of the Highway, but says Caltrans is taking a serious look into the region due to fatal crashes like the one Sunday night.

"It really saddens me that we are not learning from the tragedies that are affecting other people," says Lorna Roush.

Roush spearheaded the effort to get another deadly chunk of Highway 41 funded after a relative died in a head-on crash in 2020.

It happened in the Riverdale area between Excelsior and Elkhorn Avenues -- now, the stretch will be expanded thanks to funding from the state.

"These accidents are still happening," Roush said. "People are still passing very unsafe, high speeds of passing."

She says she hopes people in the Kettleman City area will be inspired to rally around expanding their section of Highway 41.

Sunday night's deadly crash happened just about 100 yards from the site where two people died in 2020 -- a memorial in their honor still stands there.

"We got to be able to have those physical separations so that the passing cannot happen," Patterson said.