Fatal collision near Visalia area

An accident on Highway 216 on Halloween highlights the importance of proper vehicle lighting and seatbelt use when driving

VISALIA – A collision has occurred on the intersection of Highway 216 and Beechwood Avenue, involving a high-speed vehicle without proper headlight equipment. The accident resulted in a fatality while simultaneously emphasizing the importance of seatbelt and child safety seat usage.

On Oct. 31, at 7 p.m., the Fresno Communication Center (FCC) received a call of a crash on State Route (SR) 216 at Beechwood Avenue, with medical personnel responding. Officers from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Visalia area responded to the scene and investigated the crash.

The initial investigation determined a 30-year-old male was driving a 1999 Ford south on SR-216 approaching Beechwood Avenue. Mr. Saechao was driving a 2001 Toyota north on SR-216, intending to turn west onto Beechwood Avenue.

According to witness statements, the Ford was traveling at a high rate of speed and did not have the vehicle’s headlights activated during darkness. Due to the dark color of the Ford, coupled with the vehicle’s high speed and lack of appropriate lighting equipment, Mr. Saechao was unable to see the Ford. The Ford and the Toyota collided in the intersection.  This impact caused the Ford to overturn multiple times before landing on its wheels.

The driver of the Ford was not wearing a seatbelt and ejected from the vehicle. He was transported to Kaweah Health Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries.  An infant was securely fastened in a child safety seat within the Ford; however, due to the use of a child safety seat the infant sustained only minor scrapes. Mr. Saechao and the occupants within the Toyota were uninjured.

It is unknown if alcohol or drugs were a contributing factor in this crash. 

The CHP Visalia Area would like to remind the public that proper usage of seatbelts and child safety seats are the single most effective way for people to reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes.

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