Woman dies in Highway 41 multi-vehicle crash

Pickup truck rear-ends car, setting off chain reaction of vehicle collisions near Elkhorn Avenue

Mid Valley Times Staff
Published July 26, 2023  • 
11:00 am

CARUTHERS – A multi-vehicle crash on rural Highway 41 south of Fresno claimed the life of a Lemoore woman.

The Fresno County Coroner’s Office on July 25 identified the victim as 47-year-old Belinda Chacon.

The chain-reaction crash involving four vehicles took place shortly before 1 p.m. on July 24 along a two-lane stretch of the highway south of Caruthers, just south of the Elkhorn Avenue stoplight intersection.

According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), 43-year-old Francisco Valdovinos was driving a 2011 Ford F450 pickup truck north on 41 toward the intersection. For reasons yet to be determined by investigators, Valdovinos failed to see a 2000 Toyota Corolla driven by 37-year-old Antonia Leon of Lemoore stopped directly in his path.

The F450 struck the rear end of the Toyota and pushed it forward into the rear end of a 2012 Chevrolet Cruz, and that vehicle was pushed into the back end of a 2017 Western Truck Tractor driven by 65-year-old Robert Naden of Sanger.

Chacon, a passenger in Leon’s Toyota, sustained fatal injuries from the crash and was declared dead at the scene. Leon, Chevrolet Cruze driver Rene Martinez and Naden all suffered moderate injuries and were treated at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.

The CHP said alcohol and/or drugs do not appear to be a factor in the crash. The 6-mile stretch of two-lane road on Highway 41 from just north of Elkhorn Avenue to just north of Excelsior Avenue in Kings County has been the scene of multiple fatal accidents, resulting in construction of a raised median separating traffic.

Mid Valley Times Staff