2 dead in Desert Aire collision

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DESERT AIRE — Two Mattawa residents died early Saturday morning in a collision near Desert Aire when their vehicle struck a semi-truck head-on.

About 4:35 a.m. Gerardo Sanchez-Medina, 19, of Mattawa, was driving a 2000 Honda Civic north on state Route 243, about a mile south of Desert Aire, when he reportedly crossed the center line and struck a 2015 Freightliner Tractor semi-truck driven by Ryan Barr, 35, of Kennewick, head-on. The Civic came to a rest in the northbound ditch, while the semi came to a rest in the southbound ditch, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Sanchez-Medina and his passenger, Eric Perez-Garcia, 26, of Mattawa, were pronounced dead at the scene of the collision. Barr received injuries and was transported to Kadlec Medical Center in Richland for treatment.

The road was blocked for about 10 hours on Saturday as the collision was investigated and the scene was cleared. The patrol reports the exact cause of the collision is under investigation and it is unknown if drugs and/or alcohol played a role in the crash. All involved were wearing seatbelts.

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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