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Two dead after tree falls onto Highway 101 near Aromas, five involved under 28

AROMAS, Calif. (KION-TV)- Update Dec. 13, 2022, at 11:18 a.m.- CHP Hollister-Gilroy has provided new details on a deadly multi-vehicle and injury crash that resulted from a large eucalyptus tree falling on a Prius Sunday morning on Highway 101 south of Cannon Road.

Police now say that Ezequiel Sanchez, 28, of Gonzales, was the passenger in a BMW that was killed. The coroner listed a head injury as the cause of death.

The truck also had two other Gonzales residents who suffered major head injuries. CHP said a 23-year-old female driver and 24-year-old male passenger were taken to Natividad Medical Center, and their conditions are unknown per CHP.

Sanchez's family said he was driving in the car with his girlfriend, Brianna Avina, at the time of the crash. He leaves her and a 2-year-old daughter behind. There is a gofundme you can find here to help support funeral costs.

Brianna also has a gofundme to help with medical expenses and to help their daughter. You can find that link here.

Brainna (Left) and Ezequiel (right). Courtesy of gofundme.

The family says Sanchez's girlfriend will be recovering for months.

CHP said it was the second of two vehicles to crash into the tree once it fell on the roadway and landed on the 2005 Toyota Prius.

The 50-year-old man that was the solo occupant of a 2018 GMC also died after hitting the tree. His identity isn't yet known, except he is an Arizona resident. His cause of death was also a head injury, per CHP.

The occupants of the Prius were two 22-year-old women from Watsonville. They were also taken to Natividad Medical Center, one with a major head injury and the other with a moderate chest injury.

Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be factors in these crashes, according to CHP.

Two dead after tree falls onto Highway 101 near Aromas

The San Benito County Sheriff's Office identified the two people killed in a multi-vehicle crash Sunday morning.

Taylor said the crash happened around 3:30 in the morning on Highway 101 near Cannon Road. The coroner's office was called at 4:00 a.m.

CHP Hollister-Gilroy said a eucalyptus tree fell onto a Prius heading southbound in the number two lane with two people inside it. They sustained moderate to major injuries.

The car remained in the southbound lane with the tree propped up. An unknown time later, a GMC truck going south in the number one lane hit the tree. The solo driver died on scene, according to CHP.

Later, a second car, a BMW traveling southbound in the number one lane, hit the tree. The driver and a passenger sustained major injuries, and another passenger died.

The first man killed was identified as Ezequiel Sanchez, 28, of Gonzales. San Benito Sheriff Eric Taylor said his family was notified of his passing.

The other person killed was identified as a 50-year-old man from Arizona. Next of kin is still trying to be reached.

All injured were taken to Natividad Medical Center.

As of 7:30 a.m., the road was reopened. CHP does not know which cars both deceased people were in.

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Ricardo Tovar

Assignment/ Web Manager for KION News Channel 5/46 and Telemundo 23


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