Alcohol may have been a factor


A Taft man who may have been driving drunk and speeding was injured just before 2 p.m. today in a single-car crash on Highway 33 near Maricopa.

Witnesses said the man, who the California Highway Patrol did not immediately identify, was driving south on Highway 33 at a high rate of speed passing vehicles when he lost control on a curve just north of Kerto Road.

His late model sedan went airborne, plowed into ground and continued tearing through brush for approximately 200 feet before coming to rest.

The engine caught fire but was doused by two passersby who had fire extinguishers.

The driver, alone in the car, suffered a broken arm, a firefighter on the scene said.  The victim also was semi-conscious and smelled of alcohol.

Because of the victim’s state of consciousness he was taken to Taft Airport by ground ambulance and then transported by helicopter to Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield.

The investigating CHP officer ordered a blood alcohol test.

One witness estimated the car was traveling about 100 mph when it passed a big rig and several cars moments before the crash.

A short time later, a  young Taft woman was injured when her pickup overturned on Midway Road just east of Henry Road.
The victim suffered minor  injuries and was taken to Mercy Southwest for treatment, CHP officers said.