Fresno man arrested as DUI suspect in deadly Friday crash on northbound Highway 99

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A 25-year-old Fresno man was arrested and suspected of drunken driving after triggering a fiery crash late Friday along Highway 99 that left another driver dead, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Jose Lopez Gracida was expected upon release from a hospital to be charged with vehicle manslaughter while under the influence of alcohol, CHP Public Information Officer Mike Salas stated in a Saturday news release.

The victim has not yet been identified other than that he is a 28-year-old from Selma.

CHP officers received a report of a “blacked out” Mitsubishi Galant blocking the middle northbound lane of Highway 99, just north of Clovis Avenue, about 11:10 p.m., according to the release.

It is believed the Mitsubishi had been involved in a prior crash. But before officers arrived, Gracida drove toward the other car as he headed north on the highway in a Toyota RAV4.

“Gracida failed to avoid the Mitsubishi and struck the Mitsubishi from behind,” the release states. “As a result of the violent impact, both vehicles careened off of the roadway in a northeasterly direction and came to rest on the right shoulder. The Mitsubishi caught fire and quickly became fully engulfed.”

The driver of the Mitsubishi wasn’t able to get out of the vehicle, according to the release.

Investigators contacted Gracida, who was later arrested on suspicion of DUI. He suffered moderate injuries and is being treated at Community Regional Medical Center, according to the CHP.

Investigators believe the Mitsubishi was disabled by the prior crash and had stopped in the middle northbound lane of Highway 99 before being struck by Gracida, according to the release.

The investigation is still ongoing.