Dinuba principal arrested for DUI, two killed in accident

Counselors were on hand at the elementary school in Dinuba that Blake Benham is in charge of to help staff after they learned that their principal was arrested.

Blake Benham, the principal of Kennedy Elementary School in Dinuba, was arrested after a fatal DUI crash on Sunday. 

He bailed out of jail and has been placed on leave by Dinuba Unified School District. 


Driving the news: Benham, 43, was arrested after a crash on Road 56 near Avenue 430 outside of Reedley on suspicion of driving under the influence. 

  • Gloria Barajas, 55, and Brenda Quinonez, 35, and two others were in a car driving north on Road 56 when a Ford pickup truck heading south veered into their lane and collided head-on with their SUC. 
  • Barajas and Quinonez were killed in the crash while the two other family members were sent to Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno. 

The big picture: According to the California Highway Patrol, Benham was under the influence of alcohol when he crashed his truck, resulting in two fatalities. 

  • Behman was arrested for DUI and vehicular manslaughter. 
  • Dinuba Unified sent letters to families on Monday offering support services for students and staff, and counselors were on hand at Kennedy Elementary for staff after they learned that Benham was arrested. 

What they’re saying: “The District administration sends its condolences to those suffering as a result of this tragic incident,” said Assistant Superintendent Marti Kochevar in a statement.

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