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Mariposa Teen Dies In Highway 41 Crash

MADERA COUNTY – A head-on collision on Highway 41 just south of Avenue 12 yesterday has claimed the life of a 13-year-old from Mariposa.

Just after noon on Saturday, Mar. 14, Antonio Lopez, 70, of Los Banos, was northbound in a 2006 Toyota Tundra, just south of Avenue 12, traveling at about 65 mph, according to CHP.

Based on witness statements, Lopez crossed over the solid double yellow lines and into the path of a southbound 2006 Toyota Corolla, driven by Penelope Choi, 48, of Mariposa. Choi was unable to take evasive action, and the two vehicles collided head-on.

Emergency personnel worked for over an hour with the Jaws of Life to free the three people in the Corolla, including Choi, passenger Christina Jarrett, 19, and a 13-year-old rear seat passenger, all from Mariposa. Choi and Jarrett sustained major injuries, and the juvenile girl’s injuries proved to be fatal.

Lopez’s injuries were minor, and his wife Isabel Ortiz, 65, of Los Banos, suffered moderate injuries. Victims were transported by ground ambulance and by SkyLife helicopter to area hospitals.

Alcohol was not a contributing factor in the crash, according to CHP, who are continuing their investigation.

Highway 41 was closed down for over two hours as the victims were attended to and the scene was cleared.

(Photo courtesy of Amber Cunningham)

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