Triple fatal crash near the Fresno County town of Caruthers

Thursday, August 28, 2014
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Investigators say three people died in a multi-car crash near the Fresno County town of Caruthers.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Investigators say three people died in a multi-car crash near the Fresno County town of Caruthers.

The California Highway Patrol says the driver of an Apria Healthcare truck blew through a stop sign. The road at Elm and Floral was covered in debris. Tires, glass and broken car parts were everywhere.

"This was the most horrific accident I've ever seen up close," said Sonny Gill who witnessed the crash. "When I ran up trying to help the passengers in that van, as I got closer there was nothing I could do."

Investigators confirm Gill's explanation that this blue Apria box truck ran the two-way stop sign while westbound on Floral, crashing into the red minivan.

"That minivan spun around and struck Chevrolet Avalanche, which subsequently struck a Nissan Cube," said CHP Officer Axel Reyes.

Three people in the van died almost instantly. Gill says he helped the van's only survivor until paramedics arrived. "The one person that got ejected I tried to maintain him and keep him on the ground," said Gill.

Three people in the Nissan suffered minor injuries and were taken to the hospital.

Beer cans were found on the road near the avalanche. Investigators say they're not sure if that's why the driver, the only person in the Chevy, took off running from the scene.

"At this point the main thing is the welfare of the person, we did find some blood in the vehicle of the avalanche so we're concerned for them," Reyes said.

Fresno County Sheriff's Deputies and CHP officers spent the night searching for that driver. The names of the nine people involved in the crash have not been released.

The driver that investigators say caused it all was uninjured when we saw him talking with investigators. The CHP says he has not been charged with any crimes. And he didn't appear to be under the influence. But, he could face manslaughter charges depending on the outcome of the investigation.

What the CHP will do in the coming days is test the Apria Healthcare truck to see if there were any mechanical issues.