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CAL FIRE Captain Paul Rotondaro, 36, died, October 2nd in a traffic collision on Highway 140 near the Gustine airport.

California Highway Patrol Officers out of Los Banos responded to the collision around 7 a.m. on Highway 140, west of Old Santa Fe Grade.

A driver of a Dodge Ram tried passing a Ford Crown Victoria in a passing zone on the two-lane road, slamming, head-on, into a Rotondaro’s Ford Ranger heading east on Highway 140. The Dodge Ram overturned and the Rotondaro’s Ranger spun out and stopped in the westbound lane before catching on fire.

Captain Rotondaro was on-duty at the time of the accident. He and the Dodge Ram driver were pronounced dead at the scene. The Ford Crown Victoria also sustained damage, but the occupants had only minor injuries.

Captain Rotondaro was a 13 year veteran of CAL FIRE, working out of Gustine, and leaves behind his wife, a 13-year-old daughter, and a 16-month-old son.