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Search continues for driver who triggered deadly Imperial Valley crash

November 15, 2010 |  9:29 am
Five killed in motorcycles crash

Authorities continued to search Monday for a hit-and-run driver who triggered a motorcycle crash that killed five people in the Imperial Valley.

A 36-year-old man from Mexicali, Mexico, who was initially arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol, has been released. A blood-alcohol test came out negative, officials said.

The crash occurred Saturday when a group of 21 motorcyclists from the San Diego County-based Saddletramps Motorcycle Club were traveling east on Highway 98. A gold Honda Civic with California plates attempted to pass the entire group by pulling into the westbound lane, the CHP said.

Carlos Ramirez Bobadilla, who was driving a Dodge Avenger westbound, tried to swerve to the right shoulder to avoid the oncoming Civic and overcompensated by swerving left. He lost control and slammed head-on into at least six motorcyclists, CHP officials said.

Bobadilla, whose wife was killed in the accident, was released when a blood alcohol test showed he was not under the influence, said Officer Pablo Torrez, a spokesman for the CHP in El Centro.

Four motorcycle riders were killed. Five others were airlifted or taken by ambulance to UC San Diego Medical Center or El Centro Regional Medical Center, according to the CHP.

The Civic was estimated to be traveling 90 to 100 mph when it tried to pass the entire group of motorcycles, according to the CHP. The Civic fled the scene after the accident.


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-- Stephen Ceasar

Photo: KTLA