Horrific crash causes chain reaction on Hwy 41 near Caruthers, leaving 1 dead, 5 injured

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Highway 41 was shut down near Caruthers on Friday night after several terrible car crashes -- that killed one person and injured five others.

CHP says that the woman who died, identified as Maria Martinez Ramirez, 20, of Arkansas, was trying to pass a vehicle legally on the two-lane highway when she crashed head-on into a family of four.

Authorities say after the head on-crash a woman who witnessed the crash pulled over across the road, got out and walked across to help the people who were injured.

She was then hit by a car that later crashed head-on into an 18-wheeler.

"I just saw this loud boom and I backed up a little bit and saw the two cars... it's insane, it's tragic," said Lauren Zonneveld, a witness.

"It's a shame, it's a shame, I just hope everybody else is too," said Paul Reiter, another witness.

Reiter had his trailer clipped by the car that also hit the woman who was trying to be a Good Samaritan.

"Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's safe and ok to do it," said Officer Mike Salas of the California Highway Patrol.

She was taken to the hospital with major injuries to the lower portion of her body.

Five people total were taken to the hospital.

Three of them were children between the ages of 6 and 15.

Their injuries range from major to minor.
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