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2 killed in head-on crash

Photo Courtesy of Martin Cabrera for sierranewsonline.com
Two people were killed in the 2013 Ford Fusion, foreground, that struck the 2013 Hyundai Accent, smoke billowing from beneath its hood.


A driver passing at high speed in a 2013 Ford Fusion, and whom police say was under the influence, struck 2013 Hyundai Accent head-on, on State Route 145 east of Road 38, killing the driver and front passenger of the Hyundai, according to The California Highway Patrol.


Sasha Watson, 27, of Coarsegold, was driving a 2013 Ford Fusion westbound Friday morning about 10:40 on SR 145 with three passengers when she began to pass a line of cars near a hill and crossed double yellow lines into the eastbound lane and struck a 2013 Hyundai Accent head on. Watson sustained major injuries and was taken to the hospital where she was later placed under arrest. Watson is facing two counts of felony vehicular manslaughter and charges of gross felony DUI. An open bottle of wine was reportedly found in her car, according to officers, and other toxicology reports are pending.


The driver of the Hyundai, 51-year-old Karrie Lynn Peterson, of Oakhurst was killed on impact.


The front passenger in Watson’s vehicle, 53-year-old Heidi Lynn Vanzeyl, of Oakhurst, was also pronounced dead at the scene. A 14-year old girl and a 16-year-old boy sustained major injuries in the high-speed collision and were taken to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.


Motorists stopped to try and help the injured at the scene, and firefighters extinguished a small roadside grass fire from the collision. Emergency crews said they were surprised anyone survived the collision, as the cars struck head on with a combined force of over 100 mph, destroying both vehicles.


SR 145 was closed for about 3-1/2 hours, snarling traffic, as emergency crews worked to treat and transport the injured, remove the fatalities, and clear the wreckage of the cars.


During the road closure another female driver allegedly under the influence of alcohol drove around the barricades about 2 p.m. as officers were clearing the scene. She was arrested for DUI, according to the CHP.


That driver was identified as Sonya Farmer of Madera.