SP landscaper killed in Highway 126 crash

July 12, 2000
Santa Paula News
A hardworking Santa Paula landscaper, the father of three children, was killed instantly early Saturday on Highway 126 when a suspected drunk driver behind the wheel of an SUV slammed into him head on. Jose Guadalupe Lopez, 40, was driving eastbound on Highway 126 at about 5:39 a.m. on his way to a job when his pickup truck was hit head on by a green 1993 Toyota Land Cruiser near Old Telegraph Road between Santa Paula and Fillmore.The westbound SUV crossed into the eastbound lanes, first side-swiping a white 1982 Ford Fairmont driven by Francisco Flores, 58 of Oxnard, before hitting Lopez’s blue Toyota pickup, which was “demolished” on impact, according to a CHP spokesman.Flores received minor injuries and Lopez was declared dead at the scene at 6:01 a.m. after EMTs and paramedics had worked frantically to revive him.According to horrified crash witnesses who stopped at the scene to attend to Lopez and Flores, the driver of the SUV had strolled away from the scene on foot; CHP investigators received reports that a man was seen walking on the shoulder of Highway 126 near Old Telegraph Road; after a search lasting less than an hour the suspect was found by CHP officers hiding in the toolshed of a house located less than a mile from the scene of the accident.Arrested for suspicion of felony drunk driving, felony hit and run and suspicion of felony vehicular manslaughter was Kevin Warren Hurley, 27 of Pasadena. The CHP spokesman said Hurley appeared to be intoxicated and failed field sobriety testing.
Hurley, a real estate agent, had arrest warrants from Los Angeles and Orange counties for speeding, driving with a suspended license and misdemeanor battery. He received only minor injuries in the crash.Hurley was booked into Ventura County Jail on the charges and his bail set at $535,000.Lopez was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, but the CHP spokesman said the severity of the head on accident - as evidenced by the damage to Lopez’s pickup - make it unlikely he would have survived the impact even if he had buckled up.

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