Driver Blamed For Fatal 101 Crash Who Was A "No Show" In Court Finally Shows Up

Wednesday May 15, 2024

(Photo courtesy CHP Ventura)

   Updated--The driver authorities blame for a fiery fatal chain reaction crash on the Northbound 101 northwest of Ventura in May of 2023 and then failed to appear in court in April has finally shown up a month later and is apparently not facing any sanctions because of his absence.

     The judge had revoked bail for 30-year-old Cody Zornes of Lancaster and issued a warrant for his arrest. 

     But on May 9th Zornes was back in court, the warrant was dismissed, and his bail was reinstated with no indication his failure to appear in April had brought any sanctions. 

     He is still free on bail and due back in court May 20th for an Early Disposition Conference.    

     Zornes is facing one count of Felony Vehicular Manslaughter with Gross Negligence and three counts of Misdemeanor Reckless Driving with Bodily Injury.

     He originally pleaded not guilty to all charges.

     The crash happened around 9:25 AM Monday May 15, 2023.

     The authorities alleged that Zornes was traveling in a Ford F-550 pickup northbound on the 101 in the left lane at a speeds greater than 65 miles an hour when he rear ended a Toyota Tacoma pickup driven by 50-year-old Jose Zarate of Ventura.

     The CHP says that started a chain reaction crash that involved three other vehicles.

      Zarate's vehicle burst into flames and he was trapped inside.

      He died at the scene.

      Meanwhile Zornes and the other drivers either suffered minor or no injuries.

      The CHP says alcohol and drugs were NOT a factor in the crash.