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Two perish in three separate vehicle accidents

Three separate motor vehicle accidents in the Lower Yakima Valley this past Saturday ended up claiming the lives of a Grandview woman and a Toppenish man.

The first mishap occurred early Saturday morning at 1:30 a.m. at Van Belle and Liberty roads, half a mile east of Granger.

Washington State Patrol troopers report that Raul Tapia-Cardenas, 21, of Toppenish was westbound on Van Belle Road, driving a 1999 Honda Accord, in the eastbound lane. His four-door sedan struck head-on an eastbound 2003 Honda Accord driven by Jesus A. Mendoza, 22, of Outlook.

A 2007 Chevy pick-up driven by Ramon Madriz-Guizar, 23, of Outlook was eastbound behind Mendoza's car. When the two other vehicles collided head-on, Madriz-Guizar attempted to avoid the crash and ended up losing control of the pick-up. It struck a concrete barrier.

Madriz-Guizar avoided serious injury, although his pick-up was totaled.

Tapia-Cardenas, the motorist traveling in the wrong lane, eventually died from his injuries at Memorial Hospital.

Mendoza survived the head-on collision, but was seriously hurt and was transported by ambulance to Memorial Hospital.

Both of the Honda Accords involved in the head-on collision were totaled.

The second fatality on Saturday occurred an hour and a half later on I-82, near milepost 75 at the Yakima and Benton counties line. As with the earlier accident, the cause of the mishap was a motorist traveling in the wrong lane of traffic.

WSP troopers say Edward E. Castilleja, 49, of Prosser was eastbound on I-82 in the westbound lanes, driving a 2008 Chevrolet pick-up. His truck collided head-on with a westbound 2007 Chrysler 300 sedan, driven by 20-year-old Angelica Barajas of Grandview.

Barajas died from her injuries at the scene of the 3 a.m. accident. A passenger in her car, 11-year-old Stephanie C. Vega of Grandview, sustained injuries and was transported by ambulance to Sunnyside Community Hospital.

Castilleja, the motorist driving in the wrong lane of traffic, also was sent to Sunnyside Community Hospital to receive medical treatment.

A third motor vehicle accident occurred Saturday evening at about 7:30 p.m., on SR-241 about 10 miles north of Sunnyside.

WSP troopers say a 2003 Toyota pick-up, driven by 19-year-old Juan M. Zuniga of Sunnyside, was northbound on SR-241. Troopers say Zuniga's truck drifted onto the shoulder. He over-corrected, causing the truck to cross the center line, where it struck a southbound 1995 Mercury driven by Cristobal Rico Villarreal, 35, of Mattawa.

Neither Zuniga, nor a passenger in his Toyota, 17-year-old Jennifer L. Smith of Sunnyside, suffered serious injuries.

Villarreal and a passenger in the Mercury, 33-year-old Ricarda Camacho Gomez of Mattawa, did sustain serious injuries, however, and both had to be airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

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