Pismo Beach man killed in crash on Highway 41

A Pismo Beach man was killed Thursday morning in a collision on Highway 41 in Kings County.

Gary Helming, 47, sustained fatal injuries in the collision, which occurred south of Highway 33, according to the Kings County Coroner’s Office and the California Highway Patrol.

The collision occurred about 8:25 a.m., when Antonio Avalos, 25, of Santa Maria was driving northbound in a 2000 Ford F-350, according to Officer Steve Schuh of the CHP’s Coalinga office.

A tire on Avalos’ truck went flat suddenly, causing the vehicle to swerve into the southbound lanes and hit Helming’s 2014 Ford F-350. Helming was pinned inside his vehicle during the collision and died at the scene.

Avalos was airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno with major injuries, Schuh said.

The accident caused a traffic jam on Highway 41 as Caltrans directed vehicles to the northbound lane. Both lanes of traffic were closed for a short time to allow a helicopter to land and transport Avalos to the hospital.

Traffic began flowing normally in both lanes about 1 p.m.

Correction: An earlier version of this story had the incorrect gender of the victim. He was a 47-year-old man from Pismo Beach.

Marc Benjamin: 559-441-6166, @beebenjamin