A collision with a palm tree at 105 mph Wednesday night resulted in the death of a 17-year-old female passenger on Robertson Boulevard about a mile west of Chowchilla.
The 20-year-old driver, Sidney Kelley of Oakland, was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter, felony evading resulting in death, felony DUI, and driving without a driver’s license according to The California Highway Patrol.
The 17-year-old girl’s name is not being released pending notification of next of kin. She was reportedly a resident of Fresno. Kelly was taken to Community Regional Medical Center where she remains hospitalized with major injuries.
The 2003 gold Ford Taurus driven by Kelley was first reported as driving “all over the roadway” northbound on State Route 99 by other motorists near Avenue 18 1/2 and located by CHP about 9:30 pm driving at 25 mph on the off ramp for Robertson Boulevard. The Ford was impeding traffic and had approximately 6 other vehicles traveling behind it, and was veering about four feet into the oncoming traffic lane, according to officers.
Kelley appeared to briefly pull over but then failed to stop for officers, continued through a stop sign on Robertson Boulevard and struck the back of a vehicle in front of her. The Ford skidded into a dirt field on the north side of the roadway and continued westbound at speeds of 50 to 60 MPH according to reports.
Once reaching the outskirts of Chowchilla, Kelly floored the Ford to speeds over 100 MPH, drifted off the roadway and struck a large palm tree north of Avenue 23 1/2. The force of the impact threw the 17-year-old female passenger who was not seat belted, into the back seat of the car and pinned Kelly behind the wheel.
The CHP officer broke out the rear window of the Ford to reach the injured passenger, discovered she had no pulse and pulled her from the vehicle and began CPR. Responding CHP units continued CPR until EMS arrived but the 17-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.
The incident remains under investigation. It is not known what the two were doing in Chowchilla or if Kelly had just become lost or disorientated behind the wheel. Officers said the impaired driver could have caused a much more serious, multi vehicle incident had she been allowed to continue on in the heavy traffic on SR 99.