Three California Residents Die in Crash in Yakima County

Photo: WSP Trooper Thorson
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Yakima County, WA– The Washington State Patrol responded to a vehicle verses semi truck crash on Southbound State Route 97 near milepost 43, 18 miles South of Toppenish around 5:49 a.m. on August 31st, 2018.

According to a press memo from the Washington State Patrol, 54-year old Mario Gil-Hernandez of Sacramento, California was traveling Northbound on State Route 97 near milepost 43 in a white 2004 GMC Savana Van when his vehicle left the roadway. He over-corrected and crossed into the Southbound Lanes where his vehicle  was struck by a green 2018 Kenworth Semi Truck and Trailer being driven by 52-year old J.G. Bustamente of Sunnyside, WA.  Mr. Bustamente was injured in the crash and transported to Astria Sunnyside Hospital for treatment. Mr. Gil-Hernandez died at the scene.  Passengers in the van, 56-year old Ralph Schantz of Roseville, CA and 28-year old Luis Ibarra of Cordova, CA both died at the scene. A third passenger in the van, 28-year old Fernando Esparza of Sacramento, CA was injured and transported to Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital where his condition remains unknown.

Photo: WSP Trooper Thorson

The van was impounded for safe keeping by Hooked Up Towing. The Semi-Truck was impounded by Highway Truck Towing.

Photo: WSP Trooper Thorson

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Charges are not expected.

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