One dead in three vehicle crash in Porterville

Terra-Bella woman succumbs to her injuries after a head-on collision caused by an individual who attempted to pass a semi-truck

VISALIA – A driver’s attempt to pass a semi-truck on Avenue 56 resulted in a triple-car collision that turned fatal for a 39-year-old woman.

On May 18, 2023, at approximately 5:05 a.m., the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Fresno Communications Center (FCC) was notified of a three vehicle collision which occurred on Avenue 56, west of Road 168. Officers from the Porterville area CHP and medical personnel responded to the scene.

The preliminary investigation determined that Rodolfo Zamora, 59, was driving a 2011 Freightliner, eastbound on Avenue 56, west of Road 168, at a stated speed of 40 to 45 miles per hour. Antonio Barietagonzalez, 61, was driving a 2022 Chevrolet, eastbound on Avenue 56, directly behind the Freightliner. Barietagonzalez attempted to pass the Freightliner, utilizing the westbound traffic lane. A 39-year-old female was driving a 2014 Honda, westbound on Avenue 56, west of Road 168, at an undetermined speed.

Barietazonzalez observed headlights and attempted to return to the eastbound lane when he collided with the Honda. The force of the collision pushed the Chevrolet into the left side of the Freightliner. After the collision, the Chevrolet came to rest on its wheels within a pistachio orchard before becoming engulfed in flames. Barietagonzalez self-extricated from the Chevrolet and waited on the shoulder for medical assistance. The Honda came to rest on its wheels facing a northeasterly direction on the north dirt/gravel shoulder. The driver of the Honda became trapped in the driver seat and succumbed to her injuries. Zamora parked the Freightliner on the south shoulder of Avenue 56.

Drugs and/or alcohol do not appear to be a factor at this time. The collision is pending further investigation. Any inquiries or information may be routed to the Porterville area CHP.

Crime Log

On May 17 at approximately 7:15 p.m., the Fresno Communication Center (FCC) received a call of a traffic collision on Highway 198 eastbound east of 6th Avenue, with medical personnel responding to the scene. Officers from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Hanford area responded to the scene and investigated the crash.

The initial investigation indicated a 52-year-old male out of Visalia was driving a 2014 Buick eastbound on Highway 198 near 6th Avenue in an unincorporated area of Kings County. At approximately the same time, Humberto Anaya, 56, out of Pixley was driving a 2017 Kenworth northbound on 6th Avenue. Anaya turned east onto highway 198. A short distance east of 6th Avenue, the 2014 Buick crashed into the back of the 2017 Kenworth. The driver of the 2014 Buick was the only occupant  and was pronounced deceased at the scene. That driver’s identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. Anaya was the solo occupant of the 2017 Kenworth  and he was not injured.

There were no other vehicles involved in the crash. The cause of the crash is under investigation. The use of drugs and/or alcoholic beverages is not suspected, but has not been ruled out.

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