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Distracted driver drops phone, two vehicles crash

For The Madera Tribune

A wrecked van sits near the intersection of Avenue 26 at Santa Fe Drive east of Chowchilla Tuesday afternoon after another driver reportedly dropped his cell phone and ran a stop sign, striking the van which rolled over, spun into and sheered off a large area power supply pole.


A driver reaching for a dropped cell phone ran a stop sign and caused a collision that wrecked two vehicles and sheered off a large power supply pole on Avenue 26 east of Chowchilla about 2 pm Tuesday, according to the California Highway Patrol. No serious injuries were reported.

A 26-year-old man from Merced was driving a commercial 2017 Chevy Express van south bound on Santa Fe Drive approaching the intersection of Avenue 26 at approximately 55 mph when he reportedly became distracted and failed to stop at the intersection, and struck a 2001 Toyota van in the passenger-side door. The Toyota van had the right-of-way and was eastbound on Avenue 26.

Avenue 26 is a major east west thoroughfare and that traffic does not have stop signs.

The combined force of the collision caused the Toyota to roll over and spin into the power pole, sheering it off at ground level. The broken supply pole remained upright with the power lines dangling but intact. The driver of the Toyota, an Asian man from Sacramento, was badly shaken up, but sustained only cuts and bruises in the violent rollover.

Motorists passing by said they were amazed that no one was killed in the badly damaged vehicle.

Officers say driving a motor vehicle deserves all of one’s attention and even a moment’s distraction can lead to collisions which can result in serious injury or death.

The incident remains under investigation, according to officers. Alcohol or other impairment does not appear to be a factor in the crash at this time.

Traffic was slowed for about two hours as officers and emergency crews worked to investigate and clear the scene. Power to the area was only briefly interrupted as crews replaced the shattered supply pole.


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