Car strikes teen on unlit stretch of Riggin Avenue

The Sun-Gazette

Driver could not see skateboarder after nightfall on Riggin west of Shirk Road

VISALIA – Late last month California Highway Patrol officers in Visalia were forced to investigate the unfortunate death of a teenage pedestrian.

On Friday, Oct. 30 at approximately 8:45 p.m., Visalia area CHP were dispatched to Riggin Avenue, west of Shirk Road. An initial investigation found a 14-year-old pedestrian was riding a skateboard westbound on Riggin Avenue on a dark unlit roadway. Heath Burkhead was driving a Ford pick-up westbound on Riggin Ave, at 55-60 miles per hour, approaching the 14-year-old.

Due to the dark conditions, Burkhead did not see the skateboarder and the 14-year-old was struck by the Ford.

The boy was transported by ambulance to Kaweah Delta Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased. Burkhead remained on scene and cooperated with the investigation. According to a CHP collision report alcohol or drugs were not a factor in this collision and the incident is still under investigation.

CHP Reports

Friday, Nov. 13

At approximately 2:45 p.m., CHP officers from the Bakersfield area office and medical personnel responded to the scene. An initial investigation determined the a 66-year-old male was riding a Yamaha motorcycle southbound on State Route 65 approaching Luis Ibarra, 41, of Visalia, who was driving a Freightliner northbound on State Route 65. The motorcyclist attempted to pass an uninvolved vehicle within the center of the highway as the Freightliner passed his location. While attempting to pass, the motorcyclist allowed the left portion of the Yamaha to collide with the left rear wheels and tires of the Freightliner, within the northbound lane. The rider was ejected from the Yamaha and subsequently sustained fatal injuries from the collision. Kern County Fire Department and Hall Ambulance personnel arrived on scene shortly after the collision and pronounced the rider deceased. It is unclear if alcohol or drugs played a factor in this collision. This investigation is pending further investigation.

Friday, Nov. 6

At approximately 9:40 p.m., Visalia area CHP officers responded to a scene at Avenue 56 east of Road 144 to investigate a collision. During the course of the investigation it was determined an unidentified female was driving a Hyundai westbound on Avenue 56 east of Road 144. For reasons still being investigated the driver allowed the vehicle to travel off the roadway and collide with a tree on the north shoulder of Avenue 56. This impact caused the Hyundai to overturn and land on its roof in a ditch. The vehicle caught fire while the female occupant was still in the vehicle, becoming fully engulfed in flames. As a result the female sustained fatal injuries. The female is believed to have been the driver and only occupant of the Hyundai at the time of the collision.

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