3 people, including 2 young girls, killed in fiery Kings County crash

The crash happened at about 6:20 pm in the area of Highway 43 north of Nevada Avenue a few miles from Corcoran.
KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Two young girls from Corcoran and a man from the Orosi area were killed in a fiery crash Thursday night on Highway 43.

According to the California Highway Patrol, around 6:30 p.m. Thursday, officers were dispatched to a crash on Highway 43, north of Nevada Avenue.

Officials said witnesses saw a 44-year-old man from the Orosi area driving a Toyota 4Runner around 100 miles per hour northbound on Highway 43 as he approached a curve in the road.

He drifted into the southbound lane and right into the path of a Chevy Tahoe with the Arellano family inside.

Jaime Arellano was driving the Tahoe with his three young children. He tried to move into the northbound lanes to avoid the 4Runner, but the two passenger sides collided.

His two daughters, 11-year-old Milagros Arellano, and 16-year-old Araceli Arellano died at the scene. Arellano and his son, 9-year-old Jaime Arellano Jr., were both badly injured and rushed to the hospital.

The 4Runner caught fire immediately after the crash and the 44-year-old man was also pronounced dead at the scene.

"It's not going to be the same," said Elvia Arellano, the oldest daughter of the family. She said her father, brother and two sisters were heading back to Corcoran from Hanford after visiting their mother, Magdalena Arellano.

Magdalena is seven months pregnant and was hospitalized after experiencing complications.

"My mom, she lost two kids in one day," said Elvia Arellano.

Samantha Alvarado was right behind the Arellano's. She said after the crash, the man from the Orosi area's car instantly caught fire.

"I have never seen something so tragic in my life," she said. "I have never firsthand experienced something so tragic."

She said she saw the man speeding and the crash happened very quickly.

"It was very sad because I just see one vehicle go this way, and he just went up in the air over and just landed on top," she said.

CHP officials are still trying to determine where the man from the Orosi area was going but said speed was a factor since the speed limit for Highway 43 is 55 miles per hour.

"This could've been avoided. There, 100 miles per hour -- that's what they had him at -- there's no need," said CHP Officer Derek Saldana.

Now, Elvia Arellano said she's trying to stay strong for her family and remember her sisters for who they were.

Milagros, a fifth-grader at Mark Twain Elementary School and a shy girl who liked to be outdoors and Araceli, a sophomore at Corcoran High School, an artist at heart who loved to draw.

"I really loved them," said Elvia Arellano.

The Corcoran Unified School District sent the following statement to ABC30 regarding the deadly crash:

"Our hearts and sympathies are being expressed to the families and friends in response to this tragedy that just occurred yesterday early evening.

We are in the process of making contacts to family to help determine how we can use our resources to help in this time of great need. Meanwhile, we are preparing professional counselors and mental health experts to be available for students and staff now and especially for our return to school Tuesday."


Elvia Arellano said her father was a farmworker and was the one who provided for their family. He remains in the hospital and the family isn't sure when he'll be able to get back to work.

Her younger brother is also still in the hospital at Valley Children's Hospital in Madera. They've created a GoFundMe account to help with funeral and medical expenses.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said the location of the crash was in Hanford. It was in Kings County at a spot closer to Corcoran.
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