Alcohol suspected as cause
A 25-year-old Madera man is alleged to have been under the influence of alcohol when he ran a stop sign at high speed about 7 p.m. Friday night and drove his car into a semi trailer moving at roadway speed on Avenue 7 at Road 24 in south Madera County, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Cristian Cardenas was pronounced dead at the scene. Other drivers in the rural area reported Cardenas was driving the 2010 Chevy Malibu north bound on Road 24 at approximately 70 to 90 MPH as he approached the stop sign and failed to stop.
The momentum drove the car completely under the frame of an eastbound Freightliner semi truck and trailer and out the other side, where the car driven by Cardenas then hit a tree before it came to rest upright in the orchard. Cardenas was also reportedly not wearing a seat belt at the time of the incident. Toxicology reports are pending.
Large pieces of the Chevy Malibu littered the intersection in all directions.
The driver of the Freightliner was shaken up by the bizarre, split-second collision but was not injured. Traffic in the area was slowed for several hours as emergency crews worked to investigate and clear the wreckage from the scene.