A 36-year-old Paso Robles man was killed early Sunday along Highway 101 south of Atascadero when he jumped out of the way of an oncoming car, only to be struck by another vehicle that was backing up.
Warren G. Ferrie was the pedestrian killed by a pickup driven by Robert C. McDanell, 28, of Paso Robles.
The fatal mishap was the result of a complicated series of events. The CHP outlined what happened this way:
At 2:20 a.m., Rosalino Guzman-Tapia was headed north on Highway 101 in a Plymouth Voyager minivan. About 21⁄2 miles north of the Highway 58 interchange, Guzman-Tapia, 23, of San Bruno, lost control of his vehicle, and it struck the guardrail. The minivan rolled over and came to rest on the passenger side.
Guzman-Tapia got out and began trying to help passenger Abraham Ramos, also 23 of San Bruno, out of the vehicle.
McDanell was driving a Dodge Dakota and approached the scene. Seeing the crashed minivan, McDanell pulled over to the right shoulder and stopped north of the Plymouth. Ferrie jumped out of the Dakota and ran to the minivan to see if Guzman-Tapia or Ramos needed help. They said they were fine.
At that moment, a Ford van driven by Terry Lynn Hiers, 60, of Atasacadero came upon the crash scene. Hiers saw McDanell backing up, so he switched lanes. But he did not see the minivan on its side. Guzman-Tapia saw the impending collision, and he jumped out of the way, leaving Ramos still in the minivan.
The van driven by Hiers crashed into the minivan and rolled it onto its top. After both vans came to a stop, Guzman-Tapia was able to help Ramos out and then they ran off west across the freeway.
Ferrie narrowly missed the Ford van crashing into the Plymouth. But as he headed across the freeway toward McDanell’s Dakota, McDanell was backing up, thinking his lights would help illuminate the dark stretch of highway.
McDanell “hoped that he would prevent further collisions by warning approaching traffic,” the CHP said in a news release. But when he backed up, he hit Ferrie, causing him fatal injuries.
Two hours later, Guzman-Tapia and Ramos returned to the scene.
Guzman-Tapia was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol. Ramos was taken to Twin Cities Community Hospital for multiple fractures and a deep cut to his right arm.
The CHP said McDanell’s involvement in the collision that killed Ferrie continues to be investigated.