For The Madera Tribune
A wrecked Ford sedan sits up against the wall of a storage facility Saturday night on south Knox Street near Avenue 13 1/2. A 20-year-old female passenger was not wearing a seatbelt and was killed in the single-vehicle crash. The 19-year-old driver, Isaiah Emmanuel Moore of Madera, sustained minor injuries and was arrested on charges of DUI and vehicular manslaughter.
A 19-year-old Madera man was arrested Saturday night on charges of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter after losing control of his car and crashing into a building on South Knox Street at Avenue 13 1/2, killing his 20-year-old female passenger, according to The Madera Police Department. Another male passenger was seriously injured and remains hospitalized.
Lt. Dan Foss said the incident was tragic and the major injuries and fatality were likely preventable, as none of the three occupants of the older Ford sedan was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision.
The driver, Isaiah Emmanuel Moore of Madera, sustained only minor injuries and was booked into the Madera County Jail after being medically cleared.
The deceased passenger has been identified by authorities as Samantha Lilly Martinez, 20, of Madera.
“The driver, Moore, had been drinking.” Foss said. “There were witnesses that heard (a car) driving recklessly, a fast acceleration and then the (sound of) the single car accident. It appears he took the corner too fast about 8:30, hit a curb, lost control and plowed into and through the side of the storage company building. The car was in really bad shape.”
Foss said there was a good reason drivers under 21 are prohibited from having any amount of alcohol. “Several factors were involved, that (combined) with an inexperienced driver, speed and alcohol added up to very terrible incident.”
Firefighters had to cut the occupants out of the mangled car.
Nearby residents have long complained the long straight stretch of south Knox Street is a frequent site of drivers doing car stunts such as donuts and drag racing, a claim that appears to be supported by the road and intersections being well marked with black tire tread. Residents continue to advocate for speed bumps to try and slow down or impede the illegal drag racing.