A suspected drunk driver in a Mercedes SUV crashed head-on into a Kia sedan on the two-lane Highway 180 west of Kerman around 4:30 p.m. Sunday, June 22nd. Three passengers in the sedan and one passenger in the SUV were pronounced dead at the scene. A second passenger suffered moderate injuries and both drivers suffered minor injuries. All crash survivors were airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center.
The crash occurred on Highway 180 near Sonoma Avenue. The suspected drunk driver, Rien Ban, 43, of Fresno, was traveling eastbound and passing a vehicle at an estimated speed of 65 to 70 mph. According to witnesses, after passing the vehicle, Ban stayed in the westbound lane. As the Kia approached the oncoming SUV, the driver slowed down and turned left to avoid a collision, but Ban turned right in response, slamming into the sedan.
Pronounced dead at the scene were the passengers of the Kia, a 23-year-old woman and two boys aged 10 and 6. The boys were from the nearby city of Mendota. Also pronounced dead at the scene was a 37-year-old female passenger of the Mercedes.
Ban was arrested on charges of suspicion of driving under the influence, gross vehicular manslaughter, and homicide.