Hilmar man and unborn child killed in car collision

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Responders arrived at this scene of smashed cars and scattered scrap metal on Tuesday morning. (KFSN)

Responders arrived at the scene of smashed cars and scattered scrap metal on Tuesday morning. California Highway Patrol officers say the crash killed a Hilmar man and an unborn child near Turlock.

Eric Zuniga with the California Highway Patrol says pregnant Kelci Branco was driving along Golden State Boulevard. Meanwhile, 29-year old, Jay McCowan, was stopped at the Griffith Street intersection nearby. Zuniga says for unknown reasons, McCowan drove onto the street and right in front of Branco's car.

"Basically the car pulled in front of her. She had no time to react," said CHP Eric Zuniga.

Branco t-boned McCowan's car. Zuniga says her family quickly came to take her to the hospital while emergency crews removed McCowan from the destroyed car.

"According to the investigators that were there, they were talking to him; and as soon as they extricated him, he started losing consciousness," said Zuniga.

Both were rushed to Emmanuel Hospital where McCowan and Branco's unborn child died.

McCowan's family did not want to speak on camera but did say they are grieving the loss and feel for both families.

Zuniga says this year there have been 32 fatal car crashes in Merced County, and at least six have been within the last two months.

"In December we had three already. November we had three--so I tell people, slow down, wear your seatbelt," said Zuniga.

He says the peak time for collisions is usually in the summertime, but with the holiday weekend coming up, they are not taking any chances.

"We're going to have maximum enforcement out this weekend like we always do every holiday. We're going to be out there present and slow down people."

CHP officers say they are still investigating the crash, and do not know if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the collision.
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