O’NEALS — A hit-and-run accident just north of Road 200 closed down Highway 41 in both directions for well over an hour this evening.
At about 5:20 p.m. reports came in of an overturned vehicle about 1/2 mile south of Yosemite Springs Parkway.
According to CHP at scene, a 2015 Ford F150, driven by a 29-year-old man from Hanford, was southbound on Highway 41 just north of where the passing lanes end. A 2012 Hyundai Sonata, driven by a 31-year-old man from Fresno, was also southbound, behind the Ford.
A third vehicle – also reported as a Ford F150 – was northbound at the same location, and crossed into oncoming traffic, side-swiping the southbound Ford.
A piece of one of the pickups flew off and struck the Sonata, says CHP. In order to avoid a collision, the driver of the Sonata veered to the right, causing his vehicle to go up the embankment and overturn, coming to rest on its roof blocking the road.
The driver of the F150 who caused the crash, left the scene.
The drivers of both the wrecked vehicles escaped with only minor injuries, according to CHP, however the driver of the Sonata was transported to a Valley hospital for evaluation.
A Ford F150 matching the description of the hit-and-run vehicle had been called in to 911 for reckless driving not long before the crash, and the person who reported it took down the license plate. If the plate number is correct, the pickup is a rental.
Because of the location of the crash – between two embankments with no shoulder on either side of the road – it was not possible to clear the roadway, so it had to be closed down in both directions until the tow truck could make it through the traffic jam and remove the wrecked Sonata.
Highway 41 was closed in both directions until about 6:30 p.m., when one-way traffic control was started. The scene was finally cleared at about 6:45, but traffic was backed up for miles in both directions, and it was a long time before traffic returned to normal.
CHP is investigating the accident.