Early morning fatality on Highway 111


BRAWLEY – According to the California Highway Patrol statement, Leonardo Ortega, 23, of Brawley was driving a 2015 Toyota Corolla at approximately 5:20 a.m. March 18, Saturday, northbound on Highway 111. Reportedly, Ortega allowed the Toyota to drift outside his lane and directly into the rear end of a 2006 Ford pickup also going north on 111. The driver of the pickup, Jose Arrechea, 67, of San Jacinto/Brawley had a 49-year-old female passenger also from San Jacinto/Brawley.

After the collision, both drivers lost control of their vehicles, and during the course of events both vehicles rolled. The passenger of the Ford was ejected and sustained fatal injuries.

The driver of the Toyota suffered minor injuries and allegedly fled the scene on foot, but was later located. The driver of the Toyota was wearing his seatbelt, while the driver and passenger of the Ford did not appear to be properly restrained at the time of the collision. Arrechea experienced major trauma.

The accident remains under investigation.