In the hills just east of Porterville, the roads are narrow and windy. A dangerous place for a distracted driver.
CHP Officer Ed Flynn said, "it's not gonna be any more dangerous if you're paying attention."
On Saturday, two cars collided head on near Success Valley Drive and Reservation Road. Officer Flynn says Adolfo Avila caused it when his phone rang. "Driver stated that he did drop his cell phone on to the floor board and he was just trying to pick it up."
Flynn says when Avila looked up, it was too late. The other driver, an 88-year-old man died at the scene and his wife was air lifted to the hospital with major injuries.
Avila and his three passengers survived with moderate injuries. He wasn't able speak on camera Monday but his dad Alfonso said, "It's a pretty tragic accident... but at least five people came out of it alive and not all of them dead."
Alfonso Avila believes both drivers are to blame and says his son never admitted to picking up his cell phone while driving. "Why would he reach for his phone... you can't use a phone up there, there's no phone signals up there," he added.
Video captured by The Porterville Recorder shows a cell phone just a few feet away from the car Avila was driving. He wasn't arrested and whether he'll face any charges is still up in the air.
Officer Flynn said, "It's still under investigation... the investigating officer hasn't completed the report yet so I don't have any information on that."
The Coroner hasn't released the names of the victims yet. KSEE24 News has learned they are from Lancaster but family members have not been notified yet.