One killed, three injured in fiery Old Telegraph Road head-on crash
Santa Paula News
Published: September 04, 2013
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula Times
Santa Paula Fire was among numerous agencies that responded Thursday to a fiery head on collision on a rural road just west of Fillmore city limits that killed a Fillmore man and left three injured.
The August 29 collision occurred at about 5:30 p.m. on the 1900 block of Old Telegraph Road.
Rigoberto Rodriguez, 27, of Santa Paula was traveling south when he lost control of the pickup truck near a sharp curve, where a reduced drive speed is posted.
The truck collided with a van heading in the opposite direction driven by Maria Elene Aguilar Melgoza, who was unable to avoid the collision.
Both vehicles suffered major front-end damage; the pickup truck also overturned and caught fire.
Initial reports were two people drove up to the crash just as it occurred and were able to pull Rodriquez, who alone in the pickup, out of the burning vehicle.
According to a witness the second vehicle involved in the crash appeared to be a passenger transit van for people with disabilities and there were numerous people aboard when the vehicle and the pickup collided.
Three people in the van were rescued by firefighters, an extrication process that lasted until after 6 p.m.
Robert Johnson, 72, of Fillmore, a passenger in the van was transported to Ventura County Medical Center and died at about 8:15 p.m.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s helicopter airlifted one victim to a local hospital and two others with injuries were transported by ambulance to other area hospitals.
Rodriguez had major injuries to his head and left arm; Isidoro Ortiz Ibarra, a passenger in the van, had major injuries to his arm and knees. Melgoza, the driver of the van, had minor injuries.
Ventura County Fire, Fillmore Fire, Santa Paula Fire and the U.S. Forest Service all sent units to the scene of the crash, which caused the Old Telegraph Road to be closed until about 9:15 p.m.
The CHP is investigating the crash.