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Chaos on Highway 41 in Fresno: Multiple crashes involving police, DUI drivers overnight

A Fresno police officer and a prisoner in his car were hurt during multiple collisions involving drunk drivers on Highway 41 overnight in central Fresno, the California Highway Patrol reported.

Northbound 41 was shut down from just after midnight until 1:38 a.m. during the incidents, which the CHP said involved two drivers arrested on driving under the influence charges.

The chaos began with two Fresno police cars stopped on northbound 41 near McKinley Avenue. One of the cars was on the roadway shoulder, and the second, with a handcuffed prisoner in the back, was in the right lane with emergency lights activated behind the suspect’s car.

As several officers were standing on the right shoulder, the driver of a Hyundai Santa Fe sideswiped the police vehicle on the shoulder, slammed into the second police vehicle in the right lane, and pushed it into the suspect’s car, the CHP said. The impact knocked an officer on the shoulder to the ground and injured the suspect in the police car. Both injuries were described as minor.

Traffic backed up along Highway 41 near McKinley Avenue after an early Saturday crash that involved a pair of stopped Fresno police cars. Caltrans
Traffic backed up along Highway 41 near McKinley Avenue after an early Saturday crash that involved a pair of stopped Fresno police cars. Caltrans

Following that crash, several other northbound cars swerved to avoid the scene and ended up in the median in another collision, this one without injuries.

The Hyundai driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI. The CHP said the suspect had been convicted of two prior DUIs in the past 10 years.

A short time later, another driver drove through roadway flares set up by the CHP, leading to a pursuit that ended on Shields Avenue and an arrest of that driver, also on DUI charges.