CHP: Alcohol a factor in fatal crash near Visalia

The Fresno BeeJuly 5, 2014 

A 60-year-old man is dead and two men were hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after a crash on Highway 198 near Visalia early Saturday morning that involved alcohol and speeding, the CHP reported.

Monday, the Tulare County Coroner's Office identified the dead man as John Hurd, 60, who lived near Exeter.

The driver of a 2008 Acura, Gustavo Pineda, 19, of Lemon Cove, was driving east at speeds over 100 mph on Highway 198 near Farmersville Boulevard when he smashed into the back of a 2004 Ford without slowing down. The Ford was in the same lane as the Acura and was headed in the same direction, said Johnny Fisher, a California Highway Patrol public information officer.

The Ford was driving about 65 mph and crashed into the center divider from the impact, the CHP said.

The Acura flipped and its passengers, who were not wearing seat belts, were thrown from the car. Jose Espinoza, 20, of Ivanhoe, and Tony Alvarado, no age provided, of Visalia, were taken to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno with major injuries, the CHP said.

Espinoza was in critical condition Saturday afternoon, CRMC officials said. A man listed as Alvarado, who CRMC officials said may go by another name, was also in critical condition.

The driver of the Ford was taken to Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia where he died of his injuries.

Pineda, the driver of the Acura, was also taken to Kaweah Delta, where he was determined to be under the influence.

CHP says alcohol was a factor in this accident, which is still under investigation. No other new details about the crash were available Monday.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6679 or bvaccari@fresnobee.com.

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