Friant crash leaves 2 teenage girls dead

Cecilia Hernandez left home Sunday afternoon. She picked up two friends nearby, and her family never heard from her again. Instead, a deputy coroner showed up early Monday morning.
FRIANT, Calif. (KFSN) -- Family members say three teenage girls were returning from Millerton Lake early Monday morning, when the driver crashed while negotiating a turn in the town of Friant.

Cecilia Hernandez, 19, of Fresno, died in the two-car collision. Her friend Lucero Aguirre, 14, was also killed. A 19-year-old passenger in the car survived with major injuries.

Family members are still in disbelief over the death of Hernandez. Her legacy will be the 3-year-old daughter she left behind, who told us her mommy wasn't home Monday. Relatives and friends say they are stunned and heartbroken.

"It's really sad what happened. She's not here anymore because of an accident that happened. It's really sad. The family is in a state of mourning right now," said Ruben Tellez, a family friend.

California Highway Patrol investigators say Hernandez was driving an Acura westbound, traveling about 70 to 75 miles an hour, when she rounded the curve at Millerton Road east of Friant Road. A witness told officers the driver crossed the double yellow lines to pass another car seconds before the deadly crash.

"It appears that it lost control as it went through the curve in the roadway, drove onto the shoulder. The driver of the vehicle then turned back to the left. The vehicle began to slide sideways, and the driver turned the vehicle back to the right," said CHP Sgt. Sean Haller.

The car came to rest after slamming into a Honda. Two people in that car suffered moderate injuries.

Hernandez and Aguirre were ejected and died at the scene. The other Acura passenger, Selena Hicks, suffered major injuries.

Family members say the three teens loved hanging out at the lake and went there often. The girls last had contact with a friend just before 10 p.m. Sunday when they said they were getting ready to leave.

"They received the news from the coroner at about 3 o'clock this morning about her death and the loss of their little sister," said Tellez.

The 19-year-old driver has had a difficult few years. Last year, she was struck by a bullet in the abdomen during a drive-by shooting in front of her home. She had to testify against the gunmen in court and only recently recovered.

Distraught loved ones thought Hernandez had a new lease on life. Now, they are planning fundraisers to pay for her funeral.

It is unknown if alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash, but toxicology tests were taken during the autopsy.
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