Fiery crash kills 1

A 30-year-old Madera man was killed, on State Route 145 just south of Avenue 9, when the car he was a passenger in was struck head on by another car, according to the California Highway Patrol.


Passing motorists stopped and helped all five of the seriously injured occupants out of the wrecked vehicles, as one of the cars burst into flames Saturday afternoon.


Authorities have identified the fatality as Francisco Prudente-Berdejo. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene. The four survivors were taken to Fresno area hospitals for treatment.


The head-on collision happened in daylight, in clear and dry conditions at 12:30 p.m., just south of the curve in a rural area of vines and orchards.


Officers say 19-year-old Parminder Singh of Kerman was driving a 2017 Chevy Cruze sedan with one passenger, southbound on SR 145 when, for unknown reasons he allowed the vehicle to drift into oncoming traffic and strike the northbound 2003 Lexus SUV with three occupants, two women and a man, head on.


The Cruze began to burn shortly after the impact. The cars spun from the combined force of the impact and both came to rest on the same eastside shoulder of the highway.


The fatal collision remains under investigation.


Officers encourage all drivers to follow posted speeds, limit distractions and always wear their seatbelts when in a vehicle.


Anyone with further information is asked to call the office of Madera CHP at 675-1025. Officers said alcohol or drugs do not appear to be contributing factors at this time. Toxicology reports are pending.

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