By The Leader Staff
Former Mayor William Siegel
Former Mayor William Siegel

Three Kings County men died in a fiery car crash in rural Madera. Killed were former Lemoore Mayor William Siegel, 49, Hanford resident Joe Avila Jr., 75, and Taylor Scott Hanning 32, of Laton.

The Madera County coroner’s office released the names of the three Kings County men who according to local sources were on their way home from a Reno golf tournament Saturday morning. The Madera office of the California Highway Patrol is still investigating the horrific accident.

The identities of two others who died in the crash were not released stated the coroner’s office as of Monday morning.

According to reports from the CHP, it was about 11:10 a.m. on Saturday morning that a Chevy Silverado pickup truck carrying the three Kings County men was heading south on Road 30 in rural Madera County when it was struck by the Dodge sedan heading west on Avenue 9. According to the CHP, the driver of the Charger ran a stop sign.

Investigators say that the driver of the Dodge sedan was traveling at a high rate of speed when it ran the stop sign and struck the pickup truck. The CHP report stated that Siegel "did not have time to react to the Dodge failing to stop for the stop sign." The right front of the Dodge collided with the left side of the Chevrolet. The Dodge continued out of control across the intersection where it collided with several grape vines. 

The force of the collision, says the CHP, caused the Chevrolet to overturn and travel across the southwest corner of the intersection where it also collided with several grape vines. The Dodge caught on fire, and both occupants were pronounced dead at the scene.

Siegel is a former mayor of Lemoore and served two terms from 2008 to 2016. Avila is a former Hanford Bullpups football coach and former softball player. He was a talented softball player, earning a spot in the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame, He also starred in football and baseball at Reedley College.

Avila was also a popular Lemoore Youth Football coach for several years. Several of his teams were unbeaten and won league and area championships.