Bass Lake woman dies in head-on collision

Staff ReportAugust 28, 2014 

Around 7:56 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27, CHP responded to a fatal accident on Highway 41 just south of Serpa Canyon in Coarsegold.

The two vehicle collision occurred when 29-year-old Billy Thornton of Coarsegold was driving a 2004 Mercury sedan southbound on Highway 41, traveling at unknown speeds, when for unknown reasons Thornton crossed over the solid double yellow line colliding head on with a 1997 Chevorlet pickup heading northbound on Highway 41 driven by 74-year-old Bethel Doran of Bass Lake.

Thornton's car collided head-on with the right front passenger side of the pickup. A passenger in the pickup truck, 72-year-old Bertha Doran, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead on scene.

The driver of the pickup and Thornton were transported to Community Regional Medical Center with minor injuries.

The accident closed Highway 41 for more than two hours while crews and investigators cleared the debris.

Thornton was said to have showed signs of intoxication and was placed under arrest for driving under the influence.

Thornton was later charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and felony DUI causing injury death and booked into Madera County Jail.

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