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2 die in crash near Salinas

SALINAS — Two Soledad residents died Tuesday morning in a vehicle accident on Highway 101, near the Spence Road exit, between Salinas and Chualar.

At about 10 a.m. on Aug. 1, the CHP Monterey Communications Center received a call of a two-vehicle traffic collision located on Highway 101 at Spence Road.

Valentin Nunez Rayo, 50, of Soledad was driving a Nissan Altima northbound on Highway 101 approaching Spence Road. Maria Elena Valle, 60, of Yuma, Ariz., was driving a Toyota Venza southbound on the highway in the fast lane (first lane) approaching Spence Road at about 65 MPH.

Rayo entered the left turn lane, slowed to about 10 to 20 MPH and attempted to make a left turn onto Spence Road.

According to witnesses, the Nissan made the left turn directly into the path of the Toyota Venza. The Toyota broadsided (T-boned) the Nissan and both vehicles came to rest on the right shoulder of US-101 southbound. 

Due to the force of the impact on the passenger side of the Nissan, the front right passenger, Natividad Onofre, 41, Rayo’s cousin, and the right rear passenger, Julian Rayo, 55, Rayo’s brother, suffered major injuries and died from their injuries on scene. Both were Soledad residents.

Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be a factor in the collision.


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