An 11-year-old Delhi girl was killed in a fiery collision that also sent multiple family members to the hospital with injuries ranging from moderate to major, the California Highway Patrol reported.
The multi-vehicle collision on Highway 99 near Selma sent a total of 10 people to area hospitals, according to the CHP.
The collisions happened around 1 p.m. Sunday on northbound Highway 99 south of Mountain View Avenue. The area is a construction zone, with the northbound lanes separated by a concrete barrier. There was no construction happening at the time of the incident.
For an unknown reason, traffic in the northbound lanes had come to a stop in the area. The driver of a 2009 Kenworth Truck Tractor, Deudiel Ramirez, 60, of Dinuba, was approaching the stopped traffic, but did not seem to notice the vehicles were not moving until it was too late to come to a complete stop.
The Kenworth struck the vehicle in front, a 1990 Toyota pickup, which initiated a chain reaction of one vehicle colliding into another. A total of five vehicles were involved in the collision.
The force of the impact caused the Kenworth to erupt in flames and set two other vehicles — the Toyota pickup and a 2004 Lincoln Navigator — on fire.
CHP officers arrived at the accident scene within minutes and helped remove several of the occupants from the crashed and burning vehicles.
The 11-year-old girl was part of a family riding in the 2004 Lincoln Navigator. Officers were able to remove her from the burning wreckage, but her injuries were severe and she was pronounced deceased at the scene, according to the CHP.
Family members told ABC 30 the deceased was Brianna Sanchez and that she attended El Capitan Elementary in Delhi.
The five other family members in the Navigator were all taken to Community Regional Medical Center for their injuries. The driver, Alejandro Sanchez Sr., 38, of Delhi, along with 32-year-old Araceli Hernandez of Delhi, had moderate injuries. Alejandro Sanchez Jr., 17; Jesus Sanchez, 14; and Emmett Sanchez, 5, all of Delhi, sustained major injuries and were taken to CRMC.
The driver of the Toyota pickup, Guillermo Sotelo Jr., 29, of Fresno, and his three passengers, Guillermo Sotelo Sr., 54; Miguel Sotelo, 4; and Jordan Sotelo, 4, all of Fresno, had minor injuries and were treated at the scene, according to the CHP.
The driver of a 2020 Infinity QX60, Katina Hulse, 47, of Point, Texas, sustained major injuries and was transported via ambulance to CRMC. Her passenger, Lisa Jones, 57, of Point, Texas, had moderate injuries and also was taken to CRMC.
Roberto Morales, 44, of Corcoran was driving a 2008 Ford Ranger with a utility trailer. It was the last vehicle in the chain and Morales was not injured, according to the CHP.
Ramirez, the driver of the Kenworth, was not injured.
Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the collision. All the parties involved appear to have been using their seat belts, the CHP reported. The investigation remains ongoing.