Two separate crashes last Saturday involving possible DUI, excessive speed, and fog resulted in one fatality, several injuries, and one arrest.
The first crash occurred on Highway 33 north of Hudson Avenue midway between Dos Palos and Firebaugh, according to the California Highway Patrol. They reported that a 2007 Mazda, driven by 40-year-old Dominga Vasquez of Mendota, was heading south on Highway 33. According to the CHP, her vehicle drifted to the right and off the roadway.
“Due to her level of intoxication, she turned her vehicle drastically to the left, over-corrected, and lost control of her vehicle,” said CHP spokesman Shannon Stiers.
At the same time, a 2014 Toyota driven by Travis Boyd, 33, of Dos Palos, was heading north on Highway 33, approaching the Mazda. The Mazda went directly into the path of the Toyota, and they collided head-on. The Toyota then traveled to the right, off the roadway, and overturned on its roof.
Vasquez’s car came to a rest in the southbound lane and was then struck by another vehicle.
“Alcohol beverage intoxication is suspected in this crash,” Stiers added.
Boyd was airlifted to a Fresno hospital with significant injuries. Vasquez and two passengers in Boyd’s car, 42-year-old Melissa Jasso and 11-year-old Jocelyn Boyd, were transported by ground ambulance. Vasquez’s injuries were listed as critical, as were Jasso’s. Jocelyn Boyd sustained minor injuries.
The second wreck occurred at 7 am on Highway 152, where fog limited visibility to between 500 and 700 feet. The CHP said that a garbage truck was traveling southbound on Delta Road at a stop sign at westbound Highway 152.
At the same time, a 2021 Ford Mustang was heading west on Highway 152 in the left lane approaching Delta Road at speeds more than 120 mph, according to the CHP.
“Due to the Ford’s unsafe speed and inadequate lighting during foggy conditions, the driver of the garbage truck was unable to observe the Ford rapidly approaching and entered into the intersection,” said Officer Stiers.
The Mustang crashed into the left side of the garbage truck, causing it to overturn on its right side. It became fully engulfed in flames, and the driver sustained fatal injuries. The Merced County Coroner’s office identified him as 19-year-old Zeferino Alvarado of Dos Palos.
The garbage truck driver, Rodriguez Sanchez, 42, of Modesto, was uninjured.
This crash remains under investigation.