A suspected drunk driving collision west of Turlock claimed the life of one man, critically injured another, and led to the arrest of an 18-year-old man, the California Highway Patrol reported.
Alejandro Valdovinos, 18, of Hayward was arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence resulting in injury and/or death.
The collision happened shortly before 7 a.m. Sunday on W. Main Street, near the intersection with S. Carpenter Road.
The Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office has not released the name of the deceased, pending positive identification. However, friends and family identified him as Naramsen Edward Kelyana, 28, of Turlock.
Kelyana was driving a 2014 Chevrolet Cruze that was struck from behind by a 2017 Ford Mustang, driven by Valdovinos.
Both vehicles had been traveling eastbound on W. Main Street. The Chevrolet had stopped for a posted stop sign at the intersection when the Ford Mustang slammed into the back of it, according to the CHP. There was no evidence present that Valdovinos applied his brakes before the crash.
The impact sent both vehicles spinning off the road and caused each one to catch fire.
A passerby stopped at the scene of the collision and was able to help Valdovinos and his passenger, Enrique Valdovinos, 19, of Turlock out of the Mustang. Alejandro Valdovinos sustained minor abrasions and contusions to his arms and abdomen, while Enrique Valdovinos suffered severe abdominal injuries, according to the CHP.
Kelyana was pronounced dead at the scene.
Tuesday morning about 40 friends and family gathered at the scene of the collision to mourn the loss of Kelyana.
“He was a very humble man, very joyful and always happy,” said Papiola Aghassi, who became friends with Kelyana about four years ago when he came to work for her restaurant, Jura’s Pizza Parlor.
Aghassi said Kelyana first started as a runner at the restaurant, but his hard work ethic and initiative earned him a spot in the kitchen and then Aghassi put him in charge of the inventory. He left the restaurant about a year and a half ago to start a job at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Patterson. He was returning home from work when he was hit.
“He came here to have a better life and now that life has ended because someone chose to drink irresponsibly,” Aghassi said. “He was so young and it’s just so senseless that he lost his life in this way.”
Kelyana leaves behind his parents, an older brother and a twin sister. Funeral services are pending.