A double fatal accident that took the lives of two teenagers and injured two more is under investigation by the California Highway Patrol. Investigators said the three factors that influenced the deadly crash were speed, alcohol and inexperience.
Just shortly before midnight on a Saturday night an SUV veered out of control on a narrow country road near Kerman. The SUV was holding five teenagers. 19 year old Melina Sandoval off Madera and 14 year old Thomas Nazaroff of Kerman were killed.
According to CHP investigators, the car was speeding down Mckinley Avenue near Sycamore when the front passenger grabbed the steering wheel and jerked it to the right, causing the driver to lose control.
After the SUV flipped over several times, Sandoval and Nazaroff were both ejected from the backseat of the car. The driver and another passenger suffered minor and moderate injuries and were taken to community Regional Medical Center. The three teens seated in the backseat were not wearing their seatbelts, and all five had been drinking.
Students in Kerman are shocked to know their friend and classmate lost his life over the weekend. Michael Rodrigues, says “I couldn’t believe that it happened to one of my best friends.”
Ron Dchamplian, California Highway Patrol, says “You’re not supposed to have any passengers under the age of 20 during that first 12 months of your license when you’re provisional. And obviously, the drinking is a no brainier. You’re not supposed to be drinking if you’re under age and certainly not while driving”
Investigators believe the victims attended a party Saturday night. But they haven’t said where and who supplied the alcohol, which is a question on the mind of many Kerman students. Gordon Halstead says, “we haven’t been back to school yet, so maybe we’ll find out more tomorrow other than that, everybody is shocked that it happened and who it happened to.”
Due to the circumstances surrounding the accident, the driver could be facing felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter charges.
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