Hit-and-Run Suspect Turns Himself in to CHP
The reported driver of a tractor-trailer involved in a Thanksgiving Day freeway wreck that left two people dead turned himself in to the California Highway Patrol on Monday. Javier Barajas Zavala, 41, of Greenfield, was arrested at 9:55 a.m. at the CHP’s Newhall Station and charged with one count of a felony hit-and-run. Zavala is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. CHP Sgt. Andrew Hernandez said Zavala voluntarily turned himself in and refused to make any statement. “His attorney advised him not to speak,” he said. Sheriff’s Lt. Brenda Cambra said Zavala’s arraignment is set for Wednesday in Newhall, but that will change if Zavala posts bail. He has no prior convictions, Cambra said. On Thanksgiving, a crash between a 1999 Peterbilt tractor-trailer and a stalled pickup truck on the northbound side of Interstate 5 near Gorman resulted in the death of two people. The tractor-trailer struck the 1990 Toyota flatbed-style truck from behind, causing the smaller vehicle to roll. Both people inside were killed. The company that owns the Peterbilt tractor-trailer reported it stolen thirty minutes after the crash. Authorities said the driver of the tractor-trailer fled the crash scene, taking the nearby Highway 138 exit and driving for about a mile before his truck caught fire. At that point, the driver abandoned the tractor-trailer and fled on foot. The case is under investigation by the CHP.
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