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Couple Killed, Child Injured as Truck Hits Car

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

An Oxnard couple were killed and their 2-year-old daughter seriously injured when the family’s car was broadsided Saturday by a flatbed tractor-trailer loaded with boxes of celery, authorities said.

Carlos Mata Orozco, 32, and his wife, Maria Elena, 25, died at the scene of the 11:51 a.m. crash at Rice Avenue and Camino del Sol in east Oxnard, said Oxnard Police Officer Joe Kaniewski.

The couple’s daughter, Melissa Sanchez Orozco, was being treated for a fractured skull and ruptured liver at St. John’s Regional Medical Center, Kaniewski said.

Family members, including some of the girl’s aunts and uncles, were with Melissa at the hospital Saturday night, Kaniewski said. Hospital workers had given toys to Melissa, including a stuffed teddy bear.

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“She took the full impact of the crash, but she survived because she was in a child safety seat,” Kaniewski said.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Raul Morales, 25, of Oxnard, suffered minor injuries. He was taken by friends to St. John’s where he was treated for pain in his left ribs.

Police said Carlos Orozco was driving a 1983 Pontiac Firebird north on Rice Avenue when he failed to yield before turning left onto Camino del Sol.

Morales had been traveling south on Rice Avenue at the posted speed limit of 50 mph when his rig slammed into the passenger side of the Pontiac and overturned, police said.

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The impact caused the passenger side of the two-door Pontiac to fold into the driver’s side, firefighters said.

“The top was punched back so far that witnesses were able to pull the baby and the car seat out and she was on the ground when we arrived,” Oxnard Fire Capt. Dennis Phelps said.

Phelps said Melissa was awake and fidgety as paramedics tried to administer aid. But she eventually began to lose consciousness and go into shock, he said.

Rescue workers attempted to resuscitate Carlos Orozco, who had a faint pulse when they arrived, but he died at the scene.

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Police believe Maria Orozco may have been wearing a seat belt but it doesn’t appear that her husband was.

The crash spilled Morales’ celery load throughout the intersection, which was closed for about four hours for cleanup and investigation.

“I’ve been here 25 years and we were just talking about how quickly lives change in just a split second. Things like this really hit home,” Phelps said.

The collision was the second fatal accident in Ventura County in as many days.

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Friday afternoon, 2-year-old Isaiah Rios of Oxnard died after being ejected through the window of a car being driven by his pregnant mother and carrying his young cousin.

Rosa Rios, 25, lost control of her vehicle while traveling north on U.S. 101 in Seacliff. The car rolled several times before coming to rest in the southbound lanes. Rios and her 4-year-old nephew suffered minor injuries.

Isaiah was not in a child safety seat, as required by law, nor was he seat-belted, police said.

Funeral arrangements in both accidents were pending.

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