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Authorities investigating deadly 3-car crash in Chico as a crime, 1 suspect is in custody

The Chico Police Department said that the crash is now under criminal investigation and they do have one suspect in custody.

Posted: Apr 13, 2019 7:09 PM
Updated: Apr 16, 2019 9:55 AM

UPDATE  6:45 p.m. Monday, April 15, 2019 - Officers believe that Emery May Sweany, the woman who is accused of causing the crash, was under the influence of a controlled substance at the time.

Police say she drove through a red light at high speeds, hitting Virgil Santos while he was turning left onto westbound East Avenue after properly halting on Marigold Avenue. 

Shelley Santos, the other passenger of the car that Virgil Santos was driving sustained major injuries from the accident. 

Sweany is also majorily injured, but the two other victims in the third vehicle sustained only minor injuries. 

Charges for Sweany are still pending as the investigation continues. 


UPDATE 4:20 p.m. Monday, April 15, 2019 - The Chico Police Department said that the crash is now under criminal investigation and they do have one suspect in custody. 

Stay with Action News Now for the latest updates as they become available. 


UPDATE 11:40 a.m. Monday, April 15, 2019 - Butte County Coroner's Office has identified the man that was killed in the crash as Virgil Santos, 64, of Chico. 

He was transported to the hospital after the crash where he later died of his injuries. 

Action News Now is still working to learn the conditions of the two other people hospitalized. 


UPDATE 10:44 a.m. Sunday, Apr. 14, 2019 - The Chico Police Department has said that one person died from the injuries received during this multiple car collision.

According to a press release, several 9-1-1 calls came in to police dispatch at 5:50 p.m. on Saturday, Apr. 13 in regards to a traffic collision at Marigold Avenue and East Avenue involving three vehicles.

Police said one vehicle and its driver were heading eastbound on East Avenue at a high rate of speed when it collided with a second vehicle occupied by two people. That vehicle was heading northbound on Marigold Avenue.

There was a third vehicle involved that was occupied by three people. That vehicle sustained only minor damage.

Three people were transported to a local hospital, but one of them later died from their injuries.

East Avenue was closed for approximately five and a half hours on Saturday.

Police investigators are working to determine if any of the people involved in the collision were impaired at the time.


UPDATE 9:39 a.m. Sunday, Apr. 14, 2019 - Chico police are investigating the three-car major injury crash as a possible DUI case. East Avenue was closed between Cactus Avenue and Ceanothus for several hours Saturday night.

Sgt. Terry Tupper told Action News Now that three people in two of the cars involved had to be hospitalized. Tupper said one person was treated for major injuries.


UPDATE 7:20 p.m. Saturday, Apr. 13, 2019 - Anchor Hayley Watts in at the scene and posted to Facebook. We have embedded her report on this page.

Hayley said East Avenue is expected to be closed for several more hours. She said the collision involving multiple cars is being investigated as a possible crime. She said several people were taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Her full report can be seen tonight on Action News Now at 11:00 p.m. during our newscast.


CHICO, Calif. - A collision involving multiple cars has caused a road closure in Chico.

The collision was first reported at approximately 6:00 p.m.

We have a reporter at the scene who confirmed that East Avenue in Chico is closed between Cactus and Ceanothus.

Drivers are detouring on Manzanita in order to avoid the area.

We have a reporter at the scene and we will provide more information as it becomes available.

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