A 56-year-old Tulare man died and several other people were hurt Friday morning, including a California Department of Transportation worker, in a crash on Highway 198 east of Visalia in Tulare County, the California Highway Patrol said.
The CHP got a call around 9:30 a.m. that an eastbound vehicle had struck a Caltrans vehicle on the highway shoulder in the area of Road 182.
Two Caltrans workers who had been doing maintenance work were just returning to their truck when a gold 2002 Dodge Ram pickup suddenly veered to the right and hit the Caltrans vehicle, pushing it off the shoulder and down an embankment.
The 56-year-old passenger in the pickup, whose name has not yet been released, died in the crash, CHP Officer Chris Webber said.
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One of the Caltrans workers, identified Saturday as Arturo Saballa Jr., 63, of Fresno, suffered major injuries and was taken first to Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia and then to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, Webber said. Hospital spokeswoman Mary Lisa Russell said Saturday that Saballa was still in critical condition.
Saballa, a maintenance superintendent with more than 20 years experience, was pinned between the two vehicles, leaving him with multiple broken bones, Caltrans said. Saballa was loading gear onto the rear of the vehicle when it was hit, the CHP said.
The other Caltrans worker, Mark A. Peton, 49, of Tulare, sustained minor injuries. He was standing toward the front of the Caltrans truck when the collision occurred.
The pickup driver, identified by the CHP as Brian A. Adney, 54, of Visalia, is cooperating with investigating officers; he also sustained minor injuries.
Drugs or alcohol don’t appear to have played a part in the crash, Webber said.
Editor’s note: Due to incorrect information from the California Highway Patrol, an earlier version of the story incorrectly spelled Arturo Saballa Jr.’s last name as Seballa.