Crash in the Canyon

By Roberto Rodriguez
CHP Press Release

On March 23, 2017, at approximately 8:50 a.m., Miguel Zamora of Visalia, 22, was driving a brown 1990 Acura Legend on State Route 178 eastbound in the Kern River Canyon near mile post marker 27.00, at an unknown rate of speed. Zamora had three passengers in his vehicle (2 adults and 1 minor). Carleen Bencoma of Weldon, 53, was driving her maroon 2011 Ford Fusion on State Route 178 westbound, just east of Zamora’s location. Zamora was attempting to pass an unidentified black vehicle by driving to the left of the double yellow lines on a blind curve. While passing on the blind curve, Bencoma was approaching in the westbound lane of traffic. As a result, the left front of the Acura Legend collided with the left front of the on-coming Ford Fusion, causing major front end damage to both vehicles. State Route 178 was blocked as a result of the collision until approximately 10:04 a.m. All involved parties and passengers sustained minor to moderate injuries and were transported by Liberty Ambulance to Kern Medical for treatment. Officer R. Bunting, ID 15977, is the investigating officer. During the on-scene investigation, Zamora was arrested for suspected violation of causing the injury collision due to driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage. This collision remains under investigation.