Man drives into traffic sign, palm trees, CHP says. Woman passenger badly hurt

A Tulare man is in jail after he drove through a traffic sign and into palm trees, leaving his female passenger severely injured early Saturday morning.

Visalia-area California Highway Patrol Officer Thomas Nevarez said Bayron Rivera Barrera, 21, swerved from the northbound lane of Road 160 and into a sign announcing Highway 216, then drove his truck straight into a group of palm trees at the parking lot of Speedy Mart in Ivanhoe.

The crash happened about 5:38 a.m. Nevarez said the CHP believes Rivera Barerra was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the crash. He and his passenger, a 20-year-old Sanger woman, were taken to Kaweah Delta Medical Center after the crash.

Nevarez said the woman had “absolutely major injuries” from the crash and was still hospitalized Saturday afternoon; her name was not released.

Rivera Barrera was released and booked into the Tulare County Pre-Trial Facility. He is expected to be charged with several felonies, including driving under the influence and causing injury, having a blood alcohol level of more than .08 and driving without a license.

Nevarez said the driver’s-side airbags deployed, but the passengers’ did not. Investigators also determined neither occupant was wearing a seat belt.

Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado is a general assignment reporter at The Fresno Bee. He grew up in Porterville and has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Fresno State. He is a former student editor at the Fresno State and Fresno City College newspapers. His hobbies include reading, sleeping, running and taking care of his dog.