Simi Valley man arrested in connection with fatal crash on I-5 

A sign in front of the California Highway Patrol office.
A sign in front of the California Highway Patrol office.

California Highway Patrol officers announced the arrest of a Simi Valley man on suspicion he was under the influence in a fatal Memorial Day weekend crash that claimed the life of a 34-year-old Newall man. 

CHP officers were on patrol around 2 a.m. Sunday in the northbound lanes of Interstate 5, south of Calgrove Boulevard, when they noticed a crash and went to check on the occupants.  

While officers were investigating the incident, which ended up being non-injury, a motorist drove up to the scene and alerted them to a crash that just happened about 200 feet behind them, Josh Greengard, spokesman for the Newhall-area CHP office, said Tuesday.  

Investigating officers reported that a 2007 Toyota Corolla driven by Victoria Rodriguez, a 33-year-old Newhall woman, stopped behind a big rig as traffic was slowing.  

Gary Palmas Sanchez, 30, failed to stop and crashed into the rear of Rodriguez’s sedan, which crashed into the rear of the big rig, according to the preliminary report from CHP officers. 

Rodriguez sustained major injuries in the collision, according to the CHP report.  

Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel arrived and pronounced the passenger of the sedan, 34-year-old Clay Matthew Rodriguez, of Newhall, dead at the scene of the crash. 

Victoria Rodriguez was taken to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital and treated for her injuries. 

Investigating officers who responded to the scene reported that Sanchez initially refused a blood test at the hospital, Greengard said, which led the officers to obtain a warrant with the L.A. County Superior Court judge on call. 

Once the warrant was signed, the blood sample was taken and Sanchez was arrested, according to CHP officials.  

Sheriff’s Department booking log information indicated Sanchez was arrested and held in lieu of $100,000 bail on suspicion of causing a DUI crash that resulted in injury. 

Information on possible charges was not immediately available from the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office. 

The holiday weekend, which is one of the busiest times for commuters, is also a maximum enforcement period for the CHP, which means all the agency’s available resources were on patrol. 

Greengard reported Tuesday that during the course of the MEP, which went from 6:01 p.m. Friday to 11:59 p.m. on Monday, a 78-hour period, officers issued 726 citations, nearly 10 an hour, and arrested 15 people on suspicion of DUI. 

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