2 dead in head-on crash near Taft, Malibu driver arrested for DUI

2 dead in head-on crash near Taft, Malibu driver arrested for DUI »Play Video
CHP and firefighters respond to a head-on crash Saturday morning on Taft Highway near Dustin Acres Rd. (KBAK/KBFX photo by Johnny Guillen)

TAFT, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) -- A head-on crash on Taft Highway near Dustin Acres Rd. killed 2 people just before noon Saturday and left 3 others with major injuries.

The CHP reports the crash involved an extended cab pickup and a car.

An officer said the crash may have been caused by the smaller vehicle trying to pass another on the two-lane highway.

The black truck, a 1994 GMC Sierra,  was westbound on SR119 and the 2012 Chevy Malibu was eastbound.

CHP Sgt. Chris Carr said any two lane highway can be dangerous, "...you have to watch for the double yellow lines and pay attention to when you're gonna pass. You're only gonna save yourself about 5 minutes getting from Taft to Bakersfield or vise versa. It's just best to be safe and follow in line with traffic."

The front right passenger in each vehicle died on impact. The driver of the Malibu as well as the pickup's driver and middle passenger all suffered major injuries.  They were transported to hospitals for treatment.

The passenger killed in the Malibu was identified by coroner's investigators Sunday as 23-year-old Carlos Sanchez of Bakersfield. The driver, who suffered major injuries, was identified later by the CHP as 31-year-old Brian Maloy of McKittrick. Maloy was later arrested for felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter, according to a CHP news release.

The driver of the GMC pickup was identified by CHP investigators as 39-year-old Dennis Gathings, Jr. of Taft. Gathings and his middle passenger, 48-year-old Charles Lewis of Taft were being treated at Kern Medical Center for major injuries. The right side passenger who was killed was identified only as a 32-year-old Taft man.