PASO ROBLES — Kettleman City resident Iriana Pina, 22, died in a vehicle accident Monday, April 30 on Highway 41 near an olive farm near Cholame. Pina was a civil engineering student at Cal Poly and was on her way back to school after visiting her hometown, according to Officer Patrick Seebart of the California Highway Patrol. The collision involved Pina’s 2007 Ford Mustang and a semi truck and left both vehicles in flames.
Pina had been traveling northbound on Highway 41 around 2:52 p.m. at an undetermined speed. Fillimon R. Lopez, 63, of Corona, was driving a 2017 semi truck pulling two trailers, traveling south in the slow lane at about 45 miles per hour. For unknown reasons, Pina crossed the double yellow line into the southbound lanes and directly into the path of Lopez’ truck.
Lopez was unable to avoid the collision and the right side of the Mustang collided with the front of the tractor. The impact caused the truck to jackknife 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. Bystanders attempted to remove Pina, who died as a result of the collision but were unable to do so because of the fire. A brush fire also broke out as a result of the collision but was quickly extinguished by firefighters.
According to the CHP, it appears that speed was the cause of the collision but the incident is still under investigation. Alcohol and/or drugs do not appear to have been a factor.
“Slow down, take your time and get there safely,” Seebart said. “Speed was a factor in the result of the fatality.”