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A 20-year-old Arkansas woman died in California on Friday night after her car crossed the centerline on a state highway and struck an oncoming SUV, sparking a series of collisions across both sides of the road, authorities said.

The multi-vehicle wreck happened on California 41 south of Harlan Avenue, near Caruthers, shortly before 9 p.m., according to a news release and crash report provided by the California Highway Patrol.

The Arkansas woman, identified by the Fresno County sheriff’s office as Maria Martinez Ramirez, was driving a 2007 Honda Civic south on the highway when her vehicle crossed into the northbound lanes and spun into the path of a 2018 Kia Sportage, the release states.

Authorities said the Kia collided with the passenger side of Martinez’s vehicle, and was in turn struck by a third driver who didn’t see the crash. The third vehicle, a 1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse veered into the southbound lanes and crashed into a utility trailer being hauled by a truck, troopers said.

A 28-year-old woman who spotted the crashed vehicles parked her vehicle on the west shoulder and tried to cross the highway to provide help to the occupants in the Kia and Honda but was struck by the front of the Mitsubishi as it veered through the crash site and hit a Freightliner, according to authorities.

Martinez died after receiving blunt force trauma in the crash, the report states.

The pedestrian suffered major injuries when she was struck and was taken to an area hospital, authorities said. Troopers said none of the other drivers received anything worse than minor injuries in the series of crashes.

Conditions were described by troopers as warm and dry at the time of the crash.

The crash was under investigation on Friday, authorities said.


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