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3 Killed In 8-Car Crash On Hwy. 101 Near King City

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Three people were killed in an 8-car accident on Highway 101 near King City on February 22, 2012. (CBS)

Three people were killed in an 8-car accident on Highway 101 near King City on February 22, 2012. (CBS)

KING CITY, Monterey County (CBS SF) — Authorities have identified three people who were killed in an eight-car crash on U.S. Highway 101 near King City on Wednesday night.

Cal Fire, along with South Monterey County Fire Protection District crews, responded to a pile-up blocking both directions of the highway around 8:55 p.m. Wednesday about a mile north of Jolon Road near King City, Cal Fire officials said.

Firefighters found eight vehicles involved in the crash with two people pronounced dead at the scene, according to fire officials.

They have been identified as Rafael Llamas, 37, and Graciela Llamas, 39.

Rafael Llamas was driving a Volkswagen Beetle that was struck head-on by a Ford Explorer, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Joel Newby.

Another passenger in the Beetle was taken to a hospital in Fresno with major injuries and was pronounced dead on Thursday, Newby said. She was identified as Maria Ochoa, 53, of Pleasanton.

A fourth person in the car, a 37-year-old woman also from Pleasanton, remains in critical condition at San Jose Regional Medical Center. Newby did not have information about the nature and extent of her injuries.

The crash was allegedly caused by the driver of the Explorer, a 42-year-old woman from Gonzalez who also suffered major injuries, Newby said. In addition to colliding with the Beetle, the Explorer also hit a Toyota Tacoma truck head-on.

The woman is at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Newby said she has not yet been arrested pending the CHP’s investigation into the crash.

Thirteen others suffered various injuries in the crash. Four had to be extricated from their cars, with fire crews using hydraulic tools to rescue the victims, officials said.

Eight others involved in the crash refused to be transported for medical treatment, officials said.

The freeway was blocked in both directions for hours following the crash, with debris strewn up to 100 yards away along the freeway, officials said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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