Taft man escapes injury in fatal crash

Staff Writer
Taft Midway Driller
Taft Midway Driller

A Taft man escaped serious injury in a fatal chain-reaction traffic accident on I-5 in northern Kern County on July 24.

The crash took the the life of one motorcyclist and left another seriously injured.

The California Highway Patrol reported that a group of motorcyclists were northbound on I-5 north of Twisselman Road "in close proximity with one another" in the No. 1 lane when a crash took place within the group, causing two of the motorcycles to crash to the pavement.

A Harley Davidson motorcycle veered to the right and across the No. 2 lane and on to the right shoulder the CHP said, and the other, a Kawasaki, veered to the left where it struck a 2004 Toyota driven by Robert Barnard of Taft.

The Kawasaki rider, a 33-year-old Las Vegas man, was ejected and landed in the center divider. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Barnard turned to the left after the motorcycle struck him to avoid more collisions and struck a 2013 Kia driven by Victoria Villa Gomez, 36, of Tracy.

Neither Barnard or Gomez were hurt.

The Harley Davidson rider, also from Las Vegas, suffered moderate injuries and was taken to Kern Medical for treatment.

The accident is still under investigation. It is not known is drugs or alcohol was a factor.