3 People Dead in Car Crash That Resulted in 1 Car Submerged in Sump

Posted at 12:36 AM, Mar 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-04 11:49:17-05

UPDATE March 4. 7:42a.m. - The driver in the truck, Frankie Vega, was driving a 2003 GMC eastbound on Panama Lane going around 70-80 miles per hour approaching a vehicle stopped at the intersection at Comanche Drive. 

The other driver in a 1997 Mercedes, Antonio Pantoja, was driving northbound on Comanche Drive, at a speed of approximately 55 miles per hour, approaching the intersection with Panama Lane. In the passenger seat was Teresa Chavolla. As Pantoja drove into the intersection, Vega drove his truck into the westbound lanes and proceeded to pass the stopped vehicle, failing to stop at the stop sign.

The front of Vega's truck collided into the left side of the Mercedes. The force of the collision cause the Mercedes to overturn and come to a rest on its roof, facing a northerly direction on the north dirt shoulder of Panama Lane, east of Comanche Dr. 

Pantoja and Chavolla died at the scene. 

According to the California Highway Patrol report, Chavolla was not wearing a seatbelt. 

The GMC traveled up a dirt embankment bordering the north edge of Panama Lane and overturned into a drainage sump filled with water, located in the northeast corner of the intersection. 

The GMC came to a rest on its driver side, facing in a westerly direction, submerged in the water. 

Kern County Search and Rescue responded and assisted in recovering the GMC from the sump. 

Upon removing the GMC from the sump, Vega was found dead in the driver's seat. 

Officials said alcohol appears to be a factor in the collision. The investigation is ongoing. 


UPDATE 5:00 p.m. - The coroner's office has identified the three people involved in the accident.

32-year-old Frankie Vega from Bakersfield has been identified as the driver of the truck that caused the accident. 

37-year-old Antonio Pantoja and 46-year-old Teresa Chavolla were in the Mercedes that flipped on its roof after being struck by Vega.


UPDATE 3:07 a.m. - Three people are now confirmed dead in the collision.  According to CHP, a pickup truck was traveling at a high rate of speed on E. Panama Ln. when it collided with a Mercedes, and then landed in a nearby sump.  A man and woman in the Mercedes died at the scene. 

The pickup truck was pulled out of the sump and the driver of that truck was found to be dead.  It is unclear if drugs and alcohol were factors in the crash.  The CHP is still investigating the incident.


At least two people are dead after a two car crash that resulted in one of the vehicles going into a sump on East Panama Ln. and S Comanche Dr.

Emergency crews responded to the scene Thursday, just before midnight.  According to KSCO, two cars crashed and one ended up in the roadway.  The person driving the car that ended up in the roadway died at the scene.

At least one person is in a pickup truck that is submerged in the sump.

Search and rescue divers are on scene and a KCSO air unit is also responding, according to KCSO.

This story is developing.  We have a crew on scene and will bring you the latest information when it comes into our newsroom.