Fatal rollover crash kills man, 2-year-old


A deadly crash on Interstate 5 this morning claimed the lives of two people were killed, including a 2-year-old.

The California Highway Patrol says the girl was one of three toddlers in the car, not properly restrained in a car seat.

The coroner has identified those who died as 41-year-old Penitito Lemana and 2-year-old Emmanitta Torres. 

The driver, 21-year-old Leilua Jean Lemana, and three other minors survived. The CHP says they’re all from the Bay Area.

“Anything can happen in just seconds time,” said Chris Carr.

Around 2 a.m., a Ford Expedition was driving about 80 miles per hour in the southbound lanes of the I-5 when, for unknown reasons, it drifted onto the right shoulder, just before Bear Mountain Boulevard. 

“Unknown why they drifted off the road, possibly tired, driving late at night,” said Carr.

According the the CHP, the car rolled over multiple times, ejecting a 41-year-old man and two two year old’s in car seats from the vehicle. 

The 41-year-old man, died at the scene and so did one of the 2 year olds who was ejected. 

The driver, 21-year-old Lemana and the second 2-year-old were airlifted to a local hospital. Lemana suffered major injuries and the child suffered minor injuries.

A 14-year-old and a 1-year-old, also in the vehicle, have checked in to Kern Medical, but there is no information on either of their conditions.

CHP continues to investigate the crash, but has stressed the importance of car seat safety. The two infants ejected from the car were buckled in to their seats, but the car seats were not properly installed.

“Buckle up your seat belts, make sure your kids are properly secured in their car seats and make sure that they have their seat belts as well,” said Robert Rodriguez, CHP PIO.

According to AAA, car crashes are the leading cause of death or injury for all children. they say a properly installed car seat reduces the risk of death by 28 percent.

“The safety seat won’t do anything if it’s not properly secured in your vehicle,” said Doug Shupe, AAA spokesperson.

Bakersfield police offer free child seat safety inspections. To schedule an appointment, call 326-3053.

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