Crime

CHP says man blew through stop sign going nearly 100 mph. Now an 8-year-old boy is dead

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Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities increased in California in 2016, according to an Office of Traffic Safety report.
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Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities increased in California in 2016, according to an Office of Traffic Safety report.

An 8-year-old boy was killed when a suspected drunken driver slammed into a car he was riding in with his parents near Selma on Saturday night, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The boy and his parents, Meghan Martzen, 29, and driver Scott Martzen, 33, were in a Kia Optima eastbound on Rose Avenue at Bethel Avenue just after 10 p.m., CHP said. Rose is not controlled by a stop sign.

Karmjit Singh, 35, ran the flashing stop signs on northbound Bethel Avenue at speeds near 100 mph, according to CHP spokesman Victor Taylor.

The front of Singh’s BMW 750i hit the passenger side of the Optima and landed on its wheels in a dry irrigation canal. The Optima hit a tree, Taylor said.

The boy, who was riding in the right rear passenger seat, was revived by firefighters and rushed to Selma Hospital where staff found a pulse, Taylor said. He was then airlifted to Valley Children’s Hospital, where he later died.

His parents were taken to Selma Hospital with broken bones, according to CHP.

Singh, of Visalia, was driving on a suspended license after a DUI conviction in 2016, according to Taylor.

He was taken to Community Regional Medical Center, where he claimed he could not provide a breath sample. He was arrested and a blood sample was taken, the CHP said. Singh was later released from the hospital and booked into Fresno County Jail.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has also placed an an immigration hold on Singh, according to Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.

Megan Martzen pleaded no contest in 2013 to involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of 17-month-old Ella VanLeeuwen.

Martzen was babysitting the child when she said the child fell off a bed. The child died three days later.

Martzen, who maintained her innocence throughout, eventually accepted a plea deal to avoid another trial after the first trial ended with a hung jury, with 10 of the 12 jurors voting in favor of acquittal.

Ella VanLeeuwen died exactly 10 years ago Sunday, according to Fresno Bee archives.

Ashleigh Panoo: 559-441-6010, @AshleighPanoo

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