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First responders attended accident victims on SR 14 during a recent rain storm. / Laura Austin Photo

Collision on SR 14 results in one fatality

By LAURA AUSTIN News Review Staff Writer–

On December 20, 2023, a tragedy struck on State Route (SR) 14.  At approximately 8:20 PM, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) – Bishop Communication Center received a call from Ridgecrest Police Department stating one of their employees located a multi-vehicle traffic crash resulting in major injuries that had occurred on SR14, approximately 10 miles north of the Dove Springs entrance.  CHP, Kern County Fire Department rescue personnel, and Liberty Ambulance responded.

Upon arrival at the scene, officers and firefighters found the wreckage of a semi and a two-vehicle head-on collision, blocking both lanes of the highway. It was determined that there were three vehicles initially involved in the accident. Eligio Gonzalez, 52, of Inyokern, CA, was driving a 2016 Ford F-250 northbound on SR 14, and  Marisol Aguirre, 48, of Southgate, CA, who was driving a 2016 Kenworth semi truck southbound on SR 14, Jocelyn Brown 30 of Long Beach CA  a passenger in a 2023 Mazda CX-50 (SUV) and a third party name withheld who was driving the Mazda (SUV) southbound behind the semi. 

A sideswipe collision occurred between the semi and the Ford.   After the initial crash, the Ford continued in a northerly direction out of control, leading to a head-on crash between the Ford and the Mazda. The high-velocity impact left the vehicles twisted and mangled. Sadly, the driver of the Mazda was confirmed deceased. Two patients were identified and immediately treated for injuries. One patient was immediately transported by ambulance with severe injuries. The other patient was pinned in their vehicle, requiring extrication. Working in the rain, firefighters used tools and expertise to open up the wreckage and safely remove the patient.

Meanwhile, a dog was found alive and tended to by firefighters. The dog appeared to have been ejected and thrown from the vehicle during the impact. Animal control was contacted to take custody of the dog. The crew cared for the dog and covered it with dry clothes to give it comfort from the rain.

Kern County Animal Services was later contacted about the dog’s well-being. They stated that the dog had been picked up by its owner or a family member of the owner.

At this time, alcohol is not suspected to be a factor in the cause of this crash.  SR 14 was closed in both directions for several hours to facilitate the on-scene investigation and vehicle recovery. The identity of the deceased is being withheld, pending notification of next of kin.