A man trimming a tree at a rural Newman location Friday morning was killed when a vehicle left a nearby roadway, went airborne and struck the tree in which the victim was working, the California Highway Patrol reported.
The deceased was identified as Cornelio Cornejo, 48, of Los Banos.
According to the CHP, Cornejo was on a ladder pruning a tree in the 28000 block of Eastin Road, just south of Shiells Road.
The CHP said Francis Coronado, 33, of Gustine, was driving a 2007 GMC Yukon northbound on Eastin at about 65 miles an hour when the accident occurred.
Coronado said that he swerved to avoid a cat which ran into the path of the vehicle, the CHP reported.
The CHP said the vehicle went out of control, left the roadway and struck an embankment which sent the Yukon airborne. The Yukon went over a four-foot fence and struck the tree in which Cornejo was working. The impact broke the tree apart and knocked Cornejo, who was working on the opposite side, off the top of the ladder.
Cornejo was transported from the scene to a nearby area where a medical helicopter was waiting but was pronounced dead at the landing zone, the CHP reported.
At the time of the accident, Cornejo was being assisted by his father-in-law, who was holding the ladder when the collision took place. The father-in-law was not injured.
Two children, ages 5 and 7, were passengers in the Yukon. They were property secured in child safety systems. The younger child sustained minor injuries, according to the CHP, and both were transported to Doctors Medical Center.
Coronado also sustained minor injuries in the 7:45 a.m. accident, the CHP report indicated.