Southbound Highway 25 from Bloomfield to Shore roads was closed for hours during the Monday evening commute due to a major, seven-vehicle collision in which Hollister resident Omar Carino Mendez, 33, was killed and at least two victims were flown by helicopter to a trauma center, the Hollister Police Department reported.
At the Hollister City Council meeting that evening, City Manager William Avera encouraged residents to patient if they were expecting commuters to return home on time.
The accident was reported at 5:26 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol, which said a vehicle hauling a ton of agricultural produce was involved. Officers reported that a vehicle went under the big rig, whose driver was not hurt.
Caltrans was summoned to close southbound Highway 25 following the second fatal wreck in as many days on the main commuting route between San Benito County and the Bay Area. At 6:39 p.m., the CHP said the southbound highway would be closed for at least another two hours.
On Sunday, 37-year-old Hollister resident Armando Gonzalez was killed while riding a motorcycle after being hit by a wrong-way driver near San Felipe Road. That driver, identified by the CHP as 25-year-old Robert Thomas of Hollister, was arrested, according to a report on KSBW television.
Thomas was treated at Natividad Medical Center for moderate head injuries, and was later booked into jail on suspicion of DUI, the station reported.. CHP officers said he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.