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Fatal crash in Sarpy County ends with one arrested, two seriously injured

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 3:18 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office Crash Response Unit and South Metro Crash Response Team are in an ongoing investigation of a fatal crash Wednesday night.

Sarpy officials and Omaha Fire and Rescue arrived at the intersection of 144th Street and Harrison Street and emergency personnel found a 37-year-old woman, driver of a Mitsubishi Outlander unresponsive and in “extremely critical condition.” Officials say 37-year-old Candice McDowell succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead at Bergan Mercy.

An off-duty Omaha officer and a passerby were able to help until the medics arrived at the scene.

Ulises Pantoja, 24, was arrested for willful reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, and a felony count of motor vehicle homicide.

According to the release, it was discovered during the early investigation that McDowell was hit by a BMW driven by Pantoja. Officials say McDowell was heading east on Harrison and Pantoja was going south on 144th Street.

“Evidence taken at the scene shows Pantoja was driving in a willfully reckless manner prior to the crash and additionally, Pantoja was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.”

Pantoja and the 23-year-old passenger of the BMW were treated for non-life-threatening injuries that officials say were serious.

Our sympathy and thoughts are with the family and loved ones of Ms. McDowell. We also remind citizens to travel safely and have a designated driver; especially during the holiday season to avoid tragedies such as this.

Sarpy County Sheriff's Office

Sarpy County officials say no further information will be released because of “pending legal proceedings.”

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