Crime - Sacto 911

Driver arrested after fatal predawn accident on Interstate 5

A crash on Interstate 5 near Fruitridge Road early Saturday left one person dead and one man under arrest facing charges of driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter, authorities said.

A California Highway Patrol report said a pickup truck veered off the southbound lanes south of Seamas Road about 3:20 a.m.

“We did have one confirmed fatality,” said Sacramento Fire Department spokesman Roberto Padilla. Two people were hospitalized with minor injuries, and the freeway was closed for about 45 minutes, Padilla said.

The CHP report said 23-year-old Nicholas Lloyd Balestra of West Sacramento was driving a 2003 GMC Sonoma that veered off the road and struck a vehicle parked on the side of the interstate. A passenger in Balestra’s truck, 21-year-old Jesus D. Castillo of Sacramento, was killed, according to the report. Another passenger, 22-year-old Nathaniel Maldonado of Sacramento, was taken to UC Davis Medical Center, the report stated.

Balestra was treated at UCDMC and then arrested on felony charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury or death, hit-and-run with injury and death, and DUI, according to online records for the Sacramento County jail.

Balestra was being booked Saturday afternoon and held on $250,000 bail, records show. His first court appearance in the case is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The crash was the latest in a series in the Sacramento area in the past week that included the death of 15-year-old Haylie Jordan, an El Camino Fundamental High School student in a crash Sunday on the Capital City Freeway near H Street, and the deaths of four people early Wednesday on Highway 50 near Stockton Boulevard. The latter crash was blamed on a 19-year-old driver, Elizabet Torres-Zela, who authorities said was driving on the wrong side of the freeway.

Call The Bee’s Sam Stanton, (916) 321-1091.