A 13-year-old girl died Saturday in a crash that closed Highway 41 for about an hour in southern Madera County, the California Highway Patrol reported.
According to witness statements, a 70-year-old Los Banos man in a Toyota Tundra drove over the solid double yellow lines that divide the north and south highway lanes. As he drove north in the southbound lane, the driver crashed head-on with a Toyota Corolla.
The highway was closed from about 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. while CHP and emergency personnel worked on the scene south of Avenue 12 near Valley Children’s Hospital. The crash was first reported around 12:10 p.m.
Inside the Corolla were three people: A 48-year-old woman driving the car, a 19-year-old female passenger and the girl who died — all three from Mariposa.
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The two women were wearing their seatbelts. Police suspect the girl was not wearing her seatbelt. Emergency personnel at the scene used the Jaws of Life to extricate the two women from the car.
The man driving the Tundra suffered minor injuries. His passenger, a 65-year-old woman also from Los Banos, suffered moderate injuries.
The collision remains under investigation, but authorities do not think alcohol was a factor.