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The New Year Starts with the First Fatal Car Accident in Salinas

By Cassandra Arsenault, Reporter, CassandraArsenault@kionrightnow.com
Published On: Jan 01 2014 08:06:55 PM CST

SALINAS, Calif.-- In Salinas early this morning at the intersection of Front and Alisal Street, New Year's Day began with the first deadly car crash of 2014. The aftermath, and the investigation, is being treated a bit differently than your typical accident, because it's a crime scene.

Police say the driver was speeding away from officers, before crashing through several light poles on the median of the intersection. Police were on the scene for hours, recreating the crash, and collecting evidence after the driver was killed, and his passenger flown to a Bay Area Hospital.

The crash comes after a record year of 12 fatal car accidents in Salinas. Salinas police say it's no way to start the new year. Police tried to pull over the vehicle a few blocks away from the intersection for driving recklessly, but the driver sped away from police, and it cost him his life.

Two fallen 15 foot light posts, a man's shoe, clothes, bagged evidence, were among some of the things that littered the shutdown intersection of Front and Alisal streets today.

"The officer tried to make a stop with red lights and sirens on this vehicle several blocks away. The vehicle made a very active attempt to try to flee from the officer," said Cmdr. Vincent Maiorana.

Police believe the two adult males were traveling well over 70 mph, but they don't know why the driver chose to risk his life to get away from police.

Maiorana says the police are looking for answers to questions like this, but right now they, "can only assume the driver was trying to flee for a particular reason, whether it's criminal behavior, if they were involved with something right before, or were going to be involved in something."

The high-speed chase ended when the driver lost control of the car, and hit a cement abutment at the intersection. The driver died on the scene, and the passenger is getting care at a Bay Area hospital.

The police are not releasing the names of the victims at this time. They were at the scene today taking measurements, and were in the process of searching the car to see what they can find.

Police know the driver was driving recklessly, but they do not know if he was under the influence, because those test results are not in yet.