Pismo Beach man killed, Santa Maria man seriously injured in Highway 41 crash

Driver got flat tire moments before head-on impact


[Update 9:35 p.m.]

The person killed in a crash on State Route 41 in Kings County has been identified as Gary Helming, 47. Helming was a Los Padres National Forest Fire Battalion Chief.

An earlier press release from California Highway Patrol improperly identified the victim as a 47-year-old female.

Helming was killed early Thursday morning while returning home from a fire assignment on the Railroad Fire in the Sierra National Forest.

For more information about Helming and his career, click here.


A Pismo Beach woman was killed in a violent crash on Highway 41 just south of state Route 33 in Kings County Thursday morning.

The California Highway Patrol said the head-on crash happened just before 8:30 a.m. when 25-year-old Antonio Avalos of Santa Maria got a flat tire which caused him to swerve to the left and into the path of the victim's 2014 Ford.

Avalos suffered major injuries and was airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. Hospital officials said Avalos is in fair condition on Friday. 

Unfortunately, the 47-year-old Pismo Beach woman who has yet to be identified died as a result of her injuries in the crash.

The collision is under investigation, but CHP said they don't believe drugs or alcohol played a factor in the crash.

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