Calexico man killed in head-on collision

June 05, 2001|By MARIO RENTERÍA, Staff Writer

PALO VERDE — A 45-year-old Calexico man died after two big rigs hauling trailers collided head-on on Highway 78 just north of Michells Camp Road near here.

California Highway Patrol investigating Officer Albert Contreras said the two big rigs collided head-on, then rolled to the shoulder of the road around 2:20 a.m.

Stacey Croley, 24, of Phoenix was heading west while the Calexico man was traveling east on Highway 78.

The Calexico man's identity was not available as of this morning.

Croley allowed her vehicle to drift into the eastbound lane and collided with the other rig.

The Calexico man was ejected from his vehicle and died at the scene. His vehicle burst into flames.

Croley was trapped behind the steering wheel of her rig for about an hour until she was extracted by emergency personnel using the "Jaws of Life."

Croley's passenger, William J. Coffey, 31, of New Mexico, was sleeping in the back seat of her vehicle.


Both he and Croley were taken to Palo Verde Community Hospital in Blythe. A spokeswoman for that hospital said Croley was airlifted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix while in critical condition. Coffey was at the Blythe hospital in a guarded condition this morning.

Contreras said none of the individuals was wearing seat belts and neither of the two drivers braked before the impact.

Croley will be charged with manslaughter due to circumstances surrounding the accident, said Contreras, and more charges will be added after the investigation.

He also said officers have suspicions Croley may have been driving under the influence of alcohol.

The accident is still under investigation.

Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3435.

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