Just before 10 p.m. on Friday, May 20, a 23-year-old Clovis woman was northbound on Highway 41 just north of Road 200 when she crashed into the back of a 2006 Hummer H3, sending it careening off the road.
According to CHP at the scene, the woman was driving a 2014 Chevy Cruze sedan when she hit the large SUV at a high rate of speed, causing the driver to lose control and overturn down the embankment on the east side of the road, coming to rest on a pile of large boulders about 100 ft. off the roadway, with the occupants pinned inside.
The Chevy Cruze sustained major front end damage, and came to a stop in the northbound lane. The driver was described by CHP as “highly intoxicated.”
Frederico Nunez Silva, 47, of Lemoore, was a passenger in the front seat of the SUV and sustained blunt force trauma during the rollover. He was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The victim’s wife was also a passenger in the Hummer, along with one other woman, and the driver was a 40-year-old male, also from Lemoore. All three were transported to Valley hospitals with injuries that were reported as moderate to major. The driver was airlifted and the two female passengers were taken by ground ambulance.
Madera County Engine 10 out of YLP and Engine 8 from Coarsegold both carry the Jaws of Life, and both apparatus were put to use as firefighters worked for nearly an hour to free those trapped inside the Hummer. Cal Fire Engines 4284 and 4295 also responded, and firefighters carried the injured up the steep slope once they were extracted from the vehicle.
Candice Ooley, the driver of the Chevy who is alleged to have caused the crash, was transported to a Valley hospital as a precautionary measure, though CHP at the scene said she was not injured. She was, however, reported to be pregnant.
Ooley was driving on a suspended license at the time of the crash, having been convicted for DUI following an arrest in June of 2015.
After being evaluated by medical personnel, she was placed under arrest for felony DUI, vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and driving on a suspended license due to a previous DUI conviction. She was booked into Madera County Department of Corrections where she is being held on a $100,000 bond.
Highway 41 was shut down in both directions for a time, and one-lane traffic control was then put in place as investigators and EMS did their jobs.
The scene was finally cleared at 2:20 a.m.
The crash remains under investigation.