PASO ROBLES — The driver of a 2007 Ford Mustang died in a fatal collision with a semi truck Monday, April 30 on State Route 41 north of an olive farm near Cholame.
The driver has not yet been identified pending notification of next of kin.
At approximately 2:52 p.m., the Mustang was traveling northbound on Highway 41 at an undetermined speed. Meanwhile, Fillimon R. Lopez, 63, of Corona, was driving a 2017 International semi pulling two trailers, traveling southbound in the slow lane. Lopez was driving at about 45 miles per hour. For unknown reasons, the driver of the Mustang crossed the double yellow lines into the southbound lanes of traffic and directly into the path of Lopez’ semi tractor.
Lopez was unable to avoid the collision, as the right side of the Mustang collided with the front of the tractor in a broadside fashion. The impact caused the truck to jackknife toward the southbound right shoulder as the Mustang continued up onto the hillside to the west. The collision caused major damage to the Mustang as well as the semi, both of which became fully engulfed in fire.
Lopez was able to get out of the semi without injury. The driver of the Mustang died as a result of the collision. A brush fire also broke out as a result of the collision but was quickly extinguished by firefighters.
The cause of the collision is under the investigation, but alcohol and or drug do not appear to have been a factor, according to police.
State Route 41 was completely closed from 3:45-8:30 p.m. and a detour was established from State 41 at State 33 (Reef City) to State Route 33 at State Route 46 (Blackwell’s Corner).
“Slow down, take your time and get there safely,” Officer Patrick Seebart with the California Highway Patrol said. “Speed was a factor in the result of the fatality.”
Any witnesses who may have observed the driving of those involved prior to the collision are asked to contact the Templeton California Highway Patrol Office at (805) 434-1822.