Men killed in crash at Cholame 'Y' are identified

Correction: Because of incorrect information from the California Highway Patrol, an earlier version of this story misspelled Charles Hutchison's name.

UPDATE 9:50 a.m. Tuesday: The CHP on Tuesday morning identified the two Shafter men killed in a head-on crash early Monday morning at the intersection of Highway 41 and Highway 46 as Mark Montgomery and Lyle Davidson, both 63 years old.

Original story: Two men are dead and a third is in a local hospital with moderate injuries after a violent head-on crash early Monday morning where Highway 41 meets Highway 46 east of Paso Robles — near the same location where actor James Dean died.

The California Highway Patrol said in a news release Monday that the agency received a report of a fatal crash at 6:50 a.m.

According to the CHP, a Ford F-350 pickup truck was traveling east on Highway 46 where it meets at a Y-intersection with Highway 41, which then continues northeast.

The driver of the pickup — identified Monday afternoon as Charles Hutchison, 47, of Paso Robles — had begun to make a left turn onto Highway 41 when he failed to navigate into the entrance of the highway by about 80 degrees, instead traveling directly into the path of oncoming traffic.

The CHP said a westbound Chevrolet Silverado was left with no time to react, and the vehicles collided head-on.

The male driver and passenger inside the Chevrolet, both 63-year-old residents of Shafter, were pronounced dead at the scene, and Hutchison was taken to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo with non-life-threatening injuries.

The identities of the dead men are being withheld pending notification of their families.

Investigators do not yet know why Hutchison failed to navigate the turn. The crash remained under investigation Monday afternoon.

It also remained unknown whether drugs or alcohol played a factor in the collision, according to CHP Officer William Long.

The scene of the accident is the same location where Hollywood icon James Dean was killed after a motorist turned in front of him at the intersection in 1955.

According to Long, while there have been several fatal collisions on Highway 46 in recent years, the last fatal accident to occur in the general area of Monday’s crash was in March 2007 and occurred just west of the Highway 46/Highway 41 intersection.

Long said a records search did not show any fatalities at the infamous intersection in the last 15 years.