BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — There are still more questions than answers after a fatal car crash involving Bakersfield police officers Thursday morning.
The crash happened around 2 a.m., involving two Bakersfield police officers and two passengers in a vehicle on their way home from work on South Vineland and Muller roads.
The area is considered a dangerous area of rural Kern County, with reports of dozens of fatal accidents.
“It’s not very well lit. It’s not much traffic, so sometimes people tend to drive there as if there’s no one on the roadways so because of the conditions, because of the darkness in the roadway and the conditions of the roadways sometimes we do get some crashes out there,” said California Highway Patrol Officer Tomas Martinez.
The crash left the driver, 31-year-old Mario Lares, dead at the scene, according to the coroner’s office, and 34-year-old Ana Hernandez in critical condition. The police officers were also injured. Most of the roadways in the area have little to no street lighting and only stop signs control many.
South Vineland and Muller roads, where the crash happened, is a two-lane road controlled by stop signs.
17 News reached out to the Bakersfield Police Department, but they remain silent. There are stop signs in both the northbound and southbound lanes.
The police officers were traveling southbound. However, we still don’t know if the police officers stopped at the stop signs on the morning of the crash. They have yet to tell us the names of the officers, if they were in pursuit, or if the officers had their red lights and sirens on.
Hernandez’s lawyer also has questions in his investigation as to what happened that morning.
“It does not appear to me that the officers stopped before entering the intersection,” said Matthew Clark, Attorney and Partner of Chain Cohn Clark.
This is why code three, also known as the lights and sirens on policy, will be analyzed in this case.
“That policy requires even when driving code three with lights and sirens that if they’re entering an intersection against a traffic control device such as a stop sign that they do so that they have complete control over their vehicle at all times,” said Clark.