GRAYSON -- Three people died Thursday when the car they were in burst into flames after a two-car head-on collision on West Grayson Road, the California Highway Patrol reported.
A Patterson man passing by pulled two people from a Toyota Camry, likely saving their lives, said CHP officer D. Crooker. The driver of the second car also was in serious condition but expected to survive. The three survivors suffered major injuries.
The accident occurred about 5:15 p.m. just west of Laird Road, Crooker said.
Burris Fisher, 21, of Utah was driving a gray Camry west on Grayson when he lost control of the car, spun counterclockwise into the oncoming lane and collided with an eastbound Honda Accord driven by Jose Barahoma, 40, of Delhi, Crooker said. Barahoma was alone in his car.
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The Toyota Camry flipped onto its right side from the impact and caught on fire. Moments later, two vehicles arrived at the accident. The good Samaritans pushed the Toyota onto its tires and smashed the left-side windows to reach its driver and passengers.
A Patterson man, David K. Gillespie, 37, pulled Fisher and one of his passengers, Walter Holcher, 32, of Ceres from the Toyota, Crooker said. The three other passengers in the Toyota died. Their names were not released pending notification of family.
"He's a hero," Crooker said of Gillespie. The name of the second person who stopped and helped was not available.
Holcher was taken by helicopter and Barahoma by ambulance to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, Crooker said. Fisher was taken by ambulance to Doctors Medical Center, also in Modesto.
About 7:15 p.m., rescue workers from the Westport Fire Protection District pulled off the Toyota's roof to reach the three bodies.
Grayson Road was closed from Laird to Shiloh roads for several hours as rescue workers investigated and cleared the scene.
The CHP is investigating and will recommend appropriate charges to prosecutors, Crooker said. Alcohol was not involved, but the CHP is trying to determine whether drugs could have been a factor.
Bee staff writer Emilie Raguso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2235.