A suspected drunken driver nearly hit a Fresno County sheriff’s deputy then collided head-on with a 2001 Saturn on Friant Road near Fresno early Monday, sending four occupants of the Saturn to the hospital with major injuries, the California Highway Patrol reported.
The driver of the 2011 Infiniti, Albert Machado, 26, of North Hollywood, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and other felony charges, the CHP and Fresno County Jail records show. Machado was released on bond 12 hours after the 3:13 a.m. crash.
The CHP said Machado was driving north in the southbound lanes of Friant Road, north of Copper Avenue, when a sheriff’s deputy saw Machado’s Infiniti coming straight at him. The deputy took evasive action to avoid a collision, then turned around and tried to catch up with the Infiniti.
That’s when Kenneth Verhaar, 18, of Fresno, saw the Infiniti coming toward him but was unable to avoid a head-on collision. The deputy, who was trying to catch up with the Infiniti, witnessed the crash and was able to render aid immediately to Verhaar and his passengers in the Saturn, the CHP said. Also hurt were Jescenia Ganez and Cassandra Sifuentes, both 18 and from Fresno, and a 17-year-old boy from Fresno. They were taken to Community Regional Medical Center for treatment.
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Machado was unhurt.
Friant Road south of Lost Lake Road was closed for more than an hour due to the collision, the CHP said.