A high-speed police chase on Highway 41 that began shortly south of Avenue 12 Monday afternoon lead to a fatal head-on car crash and forced closure of both lanes for several hours, California Highway Patrol officer Josh McConnell said.
The lanes were closed from Children’s Boulevard to Avenue 12, and traffic was reportedly backed up for long distances in each direction around 4:30 p.m.
Josh McConnell, public information officer for CHP’s office in Madera, told ABC30 a woman was driving a tan sedan at an “extremely high rate of speed” northbound on the highway, and passed another officer.
“The CHP officer positioned his vehicle behind her, began a vehicle pace, and picked up a speed of 95 miles an hour,” McConnell said. “As they continued north ... the officer saw traffic was backed up and so he backed off to hopefully prevent the driver from colliding into any of the vehicles that were stopped.”
The driver did not stop and moved into the opposite lane, McConnell said, then slammed into a blue Chevrolet sedan and careened head on into a grey Dodge pickup truck.
The female driver suffered fatal injuries, McConnell said. Those in the other vehicles suffered minor injuries.
Southbound traffic is being diverted from Avenue 12 west to the business route south back onto the highway. Northbound traffic will take the same route in the opposite direction, McConnell said.
The highway is expected to be closed for several hours, McConnell said around 4:30 p.m.