Nine people were killed in a collision on Highway 33 near Avenal on New Year’s Day.
The California Highway Patrol said at around 8 p.m. on Jan. 1, it received a call about a collision on Highway 33 south of Sutter Avenue. When officers arrived, they found a Ford vehicle that was fully engulfed in fire with all eight occupants inside.
The 28-year-old driver and solo occupant of a Dodge that was involved in the collision also suffered fatal injuries, according to the department.
During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the Ford was heading northbound on Highway 33 while the Dodge was heading southbound.
As the vehicles approached each other, the CHP said the Dodge veered onto the dirt shoulder, overcorrected, crossed the southbound lane and into the northbound lane, at which point it collided with the front of the Ford.
After the collision, the department said the Ford traveled onto the east dirt shoulder, where it caught fire. The Dodge came to rest straddling the northbound and southbound lanes.
When the fire was extinguished, the CHP said it found the bodies of the eight occupants, of which only five were restrained. The collision is still under investigation.