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Update: Merced Man Charged With Homicide in Fatal Hit and Run

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Police detain Cruz Diaz shortly after a fatal hit and run Wedensday morning.

MODESTO – Authorities arrested a 39 year old Merced man on homicide charges after the intentional hit and run of two pedestrians claimed the life of one early Wednesday morning.

Shortly after midnight police were called to the area of Maze Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr Drive for a report of a person hit by a vehicle.

Officers arriving at the scene located a man and woman who were both struck by a vehicle. A woman was found in the alley behind the convenience store at the intersection. A man who was also struck and injured crawled toward the front of the store for help.

The 61 year old woman who was found in the alley next to a tent was unresponsive. Police officers began performing CPR on her until medics arrived. She was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced deceased. The 30 year old male victim was also taken to a hospital by ambulance and was taken straight into treatment. Officials believe both victims may be related but as of late Wednesday morning those details had not been confirmed.

Authorities believed a possible argument had led up to the incident according to Lieutenant Chris Adams. Witness accounts indicated the act appeared intentional, the Lieutenant explained. Police were also reviewing surveillance video.

One witness who declined to be identified said he saw the vehicle strike a person, back up and then hit them again. He explained he then saw the vehicle drive away from the area.

Police officers closed off the alleyway with crime scene tape as detectives and crime scene technicians responded to investigate and gather evidence.

While officers worked the scene, a police cadet spotted a vehicle nearby matching the description. The cadet, identified as Mason Lewis, followed the vehicle and guided patrol officers to its location. Officers were able to stop the vehicle and detain the driver, identified as Cruz Diaz, to be interviewed.

Cadet Lewis has been with the department since his signing up as an explorer and is on his way to the police academy Lieutenant Adams said.

The Nissan sedan suspected of being involved in the crash was seized as evidence by police. There was visible damage on the vehicle and it was missing a mirror. The front passenger tire was flat.

Diaz was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail on homicide charges.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Detective Booza at boozag@modestopd.com or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.

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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Officer Involved Shooting Investigated in Tracy

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Officers examine a corner of Mosswood Court Friday afternoon where an officer involved shooting took place.

TRACY – One person who was said to be armed with a knife was rushed to a hospital Friday afternoon after being shot by a police officer.

Shortly before 2:00pm officers were called to the area of Mosswood Court for a report of a person with a knife chasing another. During the encounter an arriving officer fired his gun at the person said to be armed with a knife.

Officials at the scene said the person shot was rushed to a hospital in unknown condition. They had identified that person but were holding that information for a proper time.

The neighborhood was closed off while investigators responded to determine what took place.

No other injuries were reported.

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Aircraft Emergency Investigation Closes Mitchell Bridge

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Emergency personnel examine a crashed airplane near the Mitchel Road Bridge Wednesday afternoon.

MODESTO – An investigation into an aircraft emergency closed the northbound lanes of the Mitchell Road Bridge Wednesday afternoon.

At about 1:00pm emergency crews were dispatched to the fields east of the Mitchell Road Bridge north of the Tuolumne River for a report of a plane crash.

Arriving rescuers found a plane crashed face down into the ground near a group of trees. One person was deceased in the aircraft according to an official at the scene.

One witness at the scene said he was driving down Hatch Road when he noticed the plane at an awkward angle, but thought nothing of it at first.

No cause of the crash or estimated time of opening for Mitchell Road was available at time of publication.

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Double Homicide Investigated in Merced County, Warrant Issued For Suspect

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HILMAR – Authorities with the Merced County Sheriff’s Office are searching for a 40 year old man in connection to a double homicide that happened Tuesday night.

Authorities responded to the 19000 block of American Avenue regarding a possible homicide Tuesday night. Arriving deputies located two adult victims deceased.

Wednesday authorities identified 40 year old Victor Bazan as a suspect and issued a warrant for his arrest. Officials believe he is related to one of the victims, and he is known to be transient to the Modesto, Ceres and Turlock areas.

Relatives of one of the victims reaching out said a white stolen vehicle Bazan may have been traveling in was found abandoned in Bakersfield.

Anyone with information regarding Bazan’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact law enforcement immediately. He should not be approached.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact (209) 651-2852 where callers can remain anonymous.

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