The 71-year-old woman who was killed in a three-vehicle crash near the Cholame “Y” on Sunday has been identified as Michelle E. Saunders of Seaside, the California Highway Patrol said.
The crash happened about 3:30 p.m. when a 2012 Mazda driven by Saunders and heading east on Highway 46 drifted into the westbound lanes for unknown reasons, according to a news release from the CHP.
The Mazda drifted directly in front of a semitruck driven by Eduardo Calderon, 61, of Mendota, who veered to the right but still crashed into the Mazda, the CHP said. The impact of the crash sent the Mazda back into the eastbound lanes, where it crashed into a 2014 Toyota driven by Leticia Lopez, 46, of Bakersfield.
Saunders was pronounced dead at the scene. Both Calderon and Lopez received minor injuries, CHP Officer Patrick Seebart said.
A passenger in the semi, Lupe Calderon, also received minor injuries in the crash.
The semi’s trailer, which was hauling about 8,000 gallons of hot oil, was detached during the crash and rolled down an embankment, the CHP said.