A Fresno State graduate student and teaching associate was identified as the driver killed Sunday night in a two-car wreck on Highway 99 in downtown Fresno.
Mireyda Barraza Martinez, 29, was enrolled in the master of fine arts creative writing program, according to the university. She also taught poetry classes and worked as a graduate assistant in the Laureate Lab Visual Wordlist Studio with U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera.
According to the California Highway Patrol, Barraza Martinez was headed north on Highway 99 in a 1997 Acura. As she approached Ventura Street around 6:45 p.m. Barraza Martinez lost control of the car, and it ran up an embankment. The Acura then headed across the traffic lanes and was broadsided by a 2008 Chevrolet.
Barraza Martinez suffered blunt-force injuries that led to her death, the CHP said.
Alcohol and drug use were not factors in the crash. It was raining when the crash occurred.
In a news release, Herrera called Barraza Martinez a “soulful, intelligent, brilliant poet.”
“This is a very tragic, painful loss, and I send my condolences to her family, friends and colleagues,” Herrera said. He got the news in Texas, where he was doing a poetry reading.
Barraza Martinez was from Porterville and was the daughter of farmworkers, according to Fresno State.
A rosary and viewing will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday at Myers Funeral Service, 248 North E St., in Porterville, the university said. A Mass will be celebrated at 9 a.m. Tuesday at St. Anne's Parish Church, 378 North F St., followed by interment at Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery, both in Porterville.
Barraza Martinez is survived by her parents, Miguel Barraza and Maria de Lourdes Martinez, of Porterville; and sisters, Marlen Barraza Martinez of Porterville and Neli Barraza Martinez of Fresno.