Identities of Victims in Fresno County Canal Crashes Revealed - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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Identities of Victims in Fresno County Canal Crashes Revealed

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Yolanda Arias, 38, and Jarod Elsdon, 29, both of Firebaugh, died in separate canal crashes on Fresno County's west side. (Shutterstock)
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A 38-year-old Firebaugh woman died after driving her 2003 Toyota into an irrigation canal at Colorado and Levee roads at about 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Yolanda Arias died despite the efforts of a male passenger in the car, the California Highway Patrol reported.

According to the CHP report, Arias lost control of the car on the rain-slickened roadway and crashed into an irrigation canal full of water near Tranquillity.

The 42-year-old passenger freed Arias from the vehicle before emergency personnel arrived. However, she was pronounced dead at the scene.

The CHP stated that it suspects the victim was driving too fast for the road conditions.

Firebaugh Man Dies in Christmas Eve Canal Crash

The Fresno County Sheriff’-Coroner’s Office also identified Tuesday a Firebaugh man who died after crashing into a different canal on Christmas Eve.

According to the sheriff’s office, Jarod Elsdon, 29, drove his vehicle into a canal near Highway 33 and Bass Avenue in Mendota.

The CHP said that Elsdon was driving a Jeep Cherokee at an unknown speed at about 9 .m. when he veered into a guardrail. The Jeep then overturned in the canal.

Elsdon’s dog, which was accompanying him, also died in the crash.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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