Cause and manner of death of prominent figure released by the Kern County Coroner's Office

Posted at 9:51 AM, Aug 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-08 12:51:57-04

The Kern County Coroner's Office said Melvin McLaughlin, the man killed in a suspected DUI crash, died from blunt force chest trauma.

The manner of death was classified as an accident.

McLaughlin, 81, was died in a car crash Tuesday August 2nd at 7th Standard Road and Golden State Highway. 

California Highway Patrol says McLaughlin had started to go through the intersection after the light had turned green.

RELATED: McLaughlin was a prominent figure in Kern County
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He was hit on the driver's side by a man who ran through a red light. The other driver has been identified as 30-year-old Lorenzo Alonzo.

CHP says they received a tip on Wednesday that Alonzo was at Kern Medical Center visiting the passenger who was in the vehicle with him at the time of the crash and they arrested him.

CHP says they believe Alonzo was driving under the influence and had previous DUI's.

He has been booked in Kern County jail for first degree murder, among other charges. He is scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

McLaughlin was a former Kern County fire captain, member of the Wasco City Council and, most currently, was the chairman of the Kern County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo). 

Rebecca Moore, who worked with McLaughlin at LAFCo, says he was a tremendous leader and great person who loved his family.