2 dead, 3 injured after head-on collision on Highway 99 in Merced County

Vince Ybarra Image
Friday, November 24, 2023
2 dead, 3 injured after head-on collision on Highway 99 in Merced County
Two people are dead and three others are in the hospital following a crash in Merced County Thursday morning.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Cellphone video shows the blaze on the side of Highway 99 in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving in Merced County.

The California Highway Patrol said two people died as a result of this car crash. A 22-year-old man from Modesto was driving a Hyundai on the wrong side of the freeway.

"We had reports, multiple reports of a wrong-way driver traveling northbound and southbound lanes of state Route 99," said CHP Officer, Eric Zuniga.

CHP said he drove about two miles before he collided with another vehicle. The SUV he crashed into flipped over and caught fire.

Video from SKYVIEW 30 shows the area where it happened and the intensity of the flames.

The 22-year-old driving the wrong way and a 30-year-old woman who was the front passenger in the SUV died as a result of the crash.

The other passengers in the SUV were taken to a Modesto trauma center with major and minor injuries but are all expected to be ok.

"It's tragic, it's tragic. Especially on Thanksgiving. Like I said earlier, you're supposed to be celebrating with your families," said Zuniga.

The CHP is currently in a maximum enforcement period, with extra deputies on the roads, making sure people stay safe. The extra enforcement started on Wednesday night and is expected to end at midnight on Monday.

As the holiday weekend continues, Officer Eric Zuniga encourages everyone to do their best to stay safe while on the road.

"Don't drink and drive, not just for the holidays, just don't drink and drive. Wear your seatbelts. You know, watch your speed, don't text and drive. Don't drive distracted," said Zuniga.

The crash is still under investigation.

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