A late-night crash in Canyon Country on Sunday brought the number of road-related fatalities to seven for 2018, according to law enforcement officials.
While Santa Clarita is conducting campaigns and outreach aimed at safer roads, the latest crash, which preliminarily is being attributed to speed, highlights the ever-present danger when safety is ignored.
The first quarter numbers for 2018 numbers also indicate that based on projections, Santa Clarita Valley law enforcement officials could see an overall drop in road-related deaths. Either the California Highway Patrol or the Sheriff’s Station’s Traffic Unit will investigate a fatal crash based on the location of the incident. Law enforcement officers investigated 33 fatal incidents in 2017.
Shortly after midnight on Sunday, driver Tiesha Shepherd, 37, and her passenger Johnnie Mitchell, 48, both of Lancaster, were the sixth and seventh people killed in road-related crashes in just the first three months of the year.
The GMC Envoy they were in hit a guardrail on the northbound lanes of Highway 14, south of Via Princessa, and the crash resulted in both occupants being ejected from the vehicle, according to a California Highway Patrol report. The SUV was traveling at a high rate of speed, the report noted.
Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics pronounced the two adults dead about 17 minutes into the call, according to Dispatch Supervisor Bernard Peters.
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Traffic Unit officials have only investigated one fatal crash in 2018.
George Arturo Alcala, 36, a Lancaster resident, was killed in a single-vehicle rollover crash at Rio Vista Elementary, where the Yamaha Rhino — considered a “side by side,” or a hybrid between an ATVs and a mini-SUV — he was riding in crashed, resulting in Alcala hitting the asphalt and sustaining a fatal injury, on Jan. 2.
California Highway Patrol officers are investigating a Jan. 16 crash involving 31-year-old Matthew Thibodeau, of Canyon Country, was killed in a crash at the intersection of Golden Valley Road and Dorothy Street in unincorporated Los Angeles County, about 100 feet outside Santa Clarita city limits, according to officials.
About two weeks later, CHP was on scene investigating the first of two fatal crashes near where Highway 126 meets Chiquito Canyon Road. The first on Sunday afternoon, took place Jan. 31, and then less than a month later, at the same intersection, a crash was reported at 6:20 p.m. on Feb. 25.
On March 3, CHP officers were called to the scene of another fatal crash, this time on the southbound lanes of Interstate 5, near the Highway 14 juncture, around 9:50 a.m.