Driver in fatal crash says he was trying to avoid accident

The driver of a cement truck involved in Wednesday's fatal wreck at Seventh and Norris streets said he was trying to avoid an accident when the truck rolled over, according to the Clovis police incident report.

Crystal Sutherland, 29, of Clovis, was killed when the 2000 Mack concrete mixer truck rolled on top of the two-door passenger car she was traveling in. She was in the back seat.

The accident occurred about 9:35 a.m.

According to the incident report:

  • Guadalupe Lopez, 32, told police he was driving the cement truck north on Norris Street approaching the traffic light at Seventh Street when he observed the vehicle in front of him was not moving.
  • He said he knew he was not going to be able to stop in time to avoid hitting the vehicle. He said he looked left and believed a vehicle was approaching from the rear, so he turned right and the vehicle rolled over.

The driver of the Toyota two-door, Shirley Garcia, 54, of Clovis said she was traveling north on Norris Street. She said the light was green and she was slowing down to turn right on Seventh Street.

According to Clovis Police Capt. Patrick Whitney:

  • The rollover was caused by truck going over a curb, combined with the weight of the vehicle, a high center of gravity, and the elevation change from the flat roadway up an incline.
  • The cement truck was fully loaded with cement at the time of the accident.
  • The police department is reconstructing the accident to figure out the rate of speed of the vehicles involved.

Whitney declined to say if anyone will be charged in the accident, citing an ongoing investigation.

A message left with the owner of the cement truck, Nick Griego and Sons of Clovis, was not immediately returned.

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