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Driver Arrested in Fatal Crash

Santa Clarita: Racing is suspected in collision that kills man and critically injures his wife.

June 20, 2002|CAROL CHAMBERS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Canyon Country man may have been street racing when he crashed into an oncoming car, killing the driver and critically injuring a passenger, authorities said Wednesday.

David Fresquez, 27, of Canyon Country, was killed and his wife, Karyn, remained hospitalized Wednesday in critical condition.

Joe Chaidez, 23, was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail on charges of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

Chaidez was arrested shortly after the Tuesday night crash on Soledad Canyon Road in Santa Clarita.

Los Angeles County sheriff's traffic investigators were interviewing witnesses to determine if the fatal crash was a result of drag racing or road rage, or if another vehicle was involved.

There was no evidence that drugs or alcohol contributed to the crash, officials said.

"In a collision of this magnitude, those are things we have to consider," Sheriff's Deputy Tony Arnold said. "It appears, based on some evidence and witness statements, that [Chaidez] was traveling above the speed limit."

The posted speed on Soledad Canyon is 50 mph.

Chaidez was driving a 2001 Acura east on Soledad Canyon Road near Deep Creek Drive about 9 p.m. when he lost control and crossed the center divider, Arnold said.

The Acura became airborne and slammed upside-down into a 1985 Chevrolet Camaro, which caught fire. A sheriff's deputy extinguished the fire.

Fresquez was pronounced dead at the scene. He and his wife were wearing seat belts, according to sheriff's deputies.

Chaidez was treated at the hospital for minor injuries and released to sheriff's deputies. It was unknown whether he was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

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