Texting-while-driving possible factor in fatal crash, says CHP

03/07/2013 3:57 PM

03/07/2013 3:59 PM

FAIRMEAD -- A 27-year-old Chowchilla man was killed in a crash Wednesday after his Nissan Pathfinder crashed into a parked big rig on Maple Street, east of Yates Avenue in Fairmead, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The victim has been identified as Carlos Rodriguez Castellon, 27, according to the Madera County Coroner's Office.

According to the CHP, evidence at the scene indicates Castellon may have been composing a text message on his cell phone at the time of the collision.

The incident was reported at 3:15 p.m. after the victim was traveling westbound on Maple Street, east of Yates Avenue, at about 40 mph. The driver veered to his left, and drove into the left rear side of the big rig, which was parked to the south of the roadway.

The victim, who was wearing his seat belt, sustained blunt force trauma from the vehicle’s steering wheel. A helicopter responded to the scene, but the victim died before he could be taken to the hospital, according to CHP.

CHP reported the victim may have also been driving under the influence, in addition to composing a text on his cell phone. According to the CHP, officers found open containers of alcohol and drug paraphernalia inside the car.

The crash remains under investigation.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsun-star.com.

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