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Patient in medical transport van dies in crash at 24th and Alder streets

Fire officials are on scene of a fatal crash Monday, March 13, 2017, at 24th and Alder streets in central Bakersfield, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX photo/Alberto Garcia)

UPDATE: The Kern County coroner's office on Tuesday, March 14, identified the person killed in this crash as 68-year-old Abel Valenzuela.

The original story, published Monday, is below.

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) -- A patient in a medial transport van died Monday in a crash at 24th and Alder streets.

Two other people in the van suffered injuries during the crash and were transported to a local hospital.

Police said just before 11 a.m., the van hit the back of a large semitruck with an attached trailer.

"It appears that the truck was traveling eastbound on 24th Street, preparing to make a northbound turn on to Alder Street, and the van was also traveling eastbound on 24th Street, when it apparently struck the rear end of the large semituck," police Sgt. Ryan Kroeker said.

The driver of the semitruck was not hurt.

One witness said she pulled the driver away from the scene, because it was chaotic.

"You see someone distressed, you know, you want to help your fellow human being," Judith Harniman said. "He was in shock when I ran out here. He was just getting out of his vehicle, and he ran around the corner and saw the poles impaled through the vehicle, and he started screaming, 'No.'"

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. confirmed the driver of the semitruck was transporting its electrical poles. A company spokesperson said their hearts and prayers are with everyone involved in the crash.

Eyewitness News reached out to the Tri- County Medical Transport but has not heard back.

Police said drugs, alcohol and speed do not appear to be factors in the collision.

Residents near 24th Street said they are concerned with the safely of the roads, especially with the 24th Street widening project underway.

"People really need to think about how they're driving and how it impacts others around them," Harniman said.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call police at (661) 327-7111.

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