SUV passenger killed, four others injured in rollover crash near Kerman

This story has been updated with new information from the CHP:

A passenger was killed and the driver and three others were injured Friday when their SUV slammed into a big rig near Kerman, the California Highway Patrol reported.

All five people in the 2006 Dodge Durango were from Madera, the CHP said. The dead passenger’s name was not released pending notification of family, and that person’s age and gender were not specified.

The driver was identified as Lorenzo Martinez. Others in the SUV were Eric Flores, Milagros Flores and Roman Flores. No ages were given by the CHP.

Everyone was wearing a seatbelt, the CHP said.

CHP spokesman Victor Taylor said the SUV was northbound on Highway 145 south of Floral Avenue at an unknown rate of speed just after 1:45 p.m. when it drifted into the southbound lane for an unknown reason.

The driver of the oncoming tractor-trailer tank truck rig, identified by the CHP as 33-year-old Saul Seaens Lopez of Kerman, tried to avoid the collision by turning into the northbound lane in an attempt to drive around the SUV. But the SUV hit the tanker near the right rear causing the SUV to overturn multiple times.

The Durango passenger died at the scene. The others were taken to Community Regional Medical Center. Driver Martin and Eric Flores were being treated for major injuries; Milagres Flores and Roman Flores suffered moderate injuries, the CHP said. Lopez didn’t report any injuries.

The CHP said the collision is under investigation and it was not immediately known if alcohol or drugs were involved.

Anthony Galaviz writes about sports for The Fresno Bee. He covers the Oakland Raiders, high schools, boxing, MMA and junior colleges. He’s been with The Bee since 1997 and attended Fresno City College before graduating from Fresno State with a major in journalism and a minor in criminology.