Local

UPDATE: One dead in Fresno County Crash

Monday, March 07, 2011

The crash happened on George Smith Rd. just south of SR 180 - after 9 a.m. Monday morning.

The driver, 28-year-old Jeffery Lea of Fresno is being treated at the hospital, but he is expected to survive. The highway patrol says the car Lea was driving was stolen Sunday night.

Monday morning, officers say he was drunk when he crashed and eventually hit a power pole.

CHP investigators say Jeffery Lea was traveling at an unknown speed when witnesses reported watching the car he was driving veer across both lanes of traffic before crashing.

"It appears the driver was drinking and driving. Due to his intoxication lost control of his vehicle causing it to slide across the road and hit a dirt embankment which in turn caused the vehicle to overturn and slid into a power pole," Axel Reyes said.

Investigators found beer cans at the scene they believe could be related to the crash. Officers say the 19-year-old passenger who died was in the hatchback portion of the car and he was not wearing a seatbelt.

Two other back seat passengers also suffered critical injuries.

Officers say the 1990 red Subaru Legacy they were in was stolen from an apartment complex in Fresno overnight. When investigators contacted the car's owner to tell him about the wreck, he didn't even know his car was missing.

"He went to bed and thought it was in the parking lot and he didn't realize it until we called him."

Since the accident damaged a power pole, PG&E crews temporarily shut off power to nearby residents so rescuers could free the victims from the car. Two people were then airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center.

Officers do not know where the group was headed when they crashed. And at this point, investigators are not releasing the blood alcohol content of the driver.

The driver will be facing several felony charges for the fatal crash. He will also be answering to an additional count of being in possession of a stolen vehicle.

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