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Merced County Man Killed in Vehicle Crash

Carlos Rodriguez

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STANISLAUS COUNTY – An unsafe passing maneuver was said to be a factor in a fatal vehicle collision near Keyes Road Monday afternoon.

The crash happened at about 3:45pm on Hawkins Road, north of Keyes Road about ten miles east of Denair. Both vehicles collided head on according to the California Highway Patrol.

A 2012 Ford pickup truck overturned as a result of the crash, however that motorist suffered only minor injuries. The driver of the other involved vehicle, 20 year old Miguel Jimenez of Atwater, was pronounced deceased at the scene. Jimenez was driving a 1999 Acura two door vehicle.

Authorities say the Acura crossed double yellow lines into oncoming traffic to attempt to pass a slower vehicle. The Acura came to rest in the northbound lane and the pickup truck on the shoulder east of the road. The area is surrounded by orchards and vineyards.

Alcohol and drugs do not appear to be factors in the crash, and both motorists were wearing their seatbelts, according to authorities.

Carlos Rodriguez is an Emmy Award winning photojournalist specializing in public safety and natural disasters. His passion for local news stems from a deep commitment to his community, with a selfless mission to inform the citizens of the valley. As he worked on assignment for 19 days at the devastating Camp Fire in Paradise, California, he spent most of his time helping survivors contact their loved ones to let them know they were ok. Carlos is a veteran of Univision, FOX, and Telemundo TV stations and a native of Modesto, California.

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Turlock Police Arrest Suspect in Fatal Hit and Run Case

Carlos Rodriguez

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TURLOCK – Police announced the arrest of a 22 year old man they said was involved in a hit and run collision that claimed the life of a bicyclist Monday morning.

The crash happened on the 400 block of Lander Avenue shortly after 12:30am. Police received several calls regarding a bicyclist that was struck by a vehicle that fled the scene. Police and medical personnel tried to save the bicyclist’s life, but he later died at a local hospital. He was identified as 50 year old Juan Moralez of Turlock.

Witnesses followed the vehicle, a 2009 GMC pickup, and tried to get the driver to stop. The driver continued to flee until crashing on Crows Landing Road. The pickup overturned into a field across from a convenience store, damaging a utility pole. The driver fled on foot and was not immediately apprehended.

The investigation led detectives to 22 year old Francisco Javier Castellon-Gonzalez of Modesto. He was determined to be the driver involved in the crash after being contacted by police. Castellon-Gonzalez agreed to be interviewed by investigators to provide a statement, and was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail on charges of hit and run causing injury and vehicular manslaughter.

Authorities credit coordinated efforts between Turlock Police Detectives, members of the Special Investigations Unit and the Major Accident Investigation Team. The investigation laster over eighteen hours, officials said.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Officer Richard Fortado at (209) 664-7399 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.

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Fatal Collision Investigated in Modesto

Carlos Rodriguez

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MODESTO – Officers with California Highway Patrol investigated a crash that claimed the life of a motorist Sunday afternoon.

The crash was reported shortly after noon on the 1400 block of Nadine Avenue. According to investigators at the scene, a green Nissan sedan was pulling out of a parallel parking space and making a u-turn into the path of an oncoming vehicle. The Nissan was struck in the driver’s side area by the oncoming vehicle. An investigator said the driver of the oncoming vehicle tried to avoid the collision but could not.

The roadway was closed for about two hours while the crash was investigated. Officers with the Ceres Police Department assisted with traffic control.

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Three Killed in Fiery Crash With CHP Vehicle

Gaby Muro

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Photo: California Highway Patrol

WALNUT GROVE – Three people were killed in a fiery crash when their SUV collided with a CHP patrol vehicle Tuesday morning.

The crash happened at about 2:30am on Interstate 5 near Walnut Grove. A CHP patrol vehicle occupied by two officers was providing assistance to a disabled tractor trailer on the southbound shoulder. Authorities said for unknown reasons, a 2021 Subaru SUV left the roadway and struck the patrol car, sending it down into the dirt. The Subaru then crashed into a tree where it caught fire.

The three occupants of the Subaru were killed in the crash. The two CHP officers were taken to a hospital with major injuries.

A CHP team responded to investigate the crash. Late Tuesday morning one lane was still closed for investigation. It was unknown if alcohol or drug impairment played a role in the collision.

Authorities would like to remind motorists to safely make a lane change for stopped emergency vehicles.

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