Local trucker injured in Aug. 31 crash

A truck driver from Sunnyside suffered injuries in an Aug. 31 crash south of Toppenish.

The crash occurred at Milepost 43 on U.S. 97, closing the highway for several hours.

J.G. Bustamante, 52, was driving a 2018 Kenworth semi and trailer southbound when a northbound 2004 GMC Savana van driven by Mario Gil-Hernandez, 54, of Sacramento, Calif. left the road, over corrected and crossed into Bustamante’s path, the Washington State Patrol said.

Gil-Hernandez was deceased at the scene as a result of the two vehicles colliding.

Bustamante was taken to a Sunnyside hospital for his injuries.

Also killed in the crash were two passengers in Gil-Hernandez’s vehicle, Ralph B. Schantz, 56, of Roseville, Calif. and Luis Ibarra, 28, of Cordova, Calif. Neither of them was wearing a seat belt, troopers said.

One other passenger, Fernando Esparza, 28, of Sacramento, was injured and taken to a Yakima hospital. He also wasn’t wearing a seat belt, troopers said. The cause is under investigation.


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