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Turlock man dies in suspected DUI crash

POSTED January 3, 2012 10:24 p.m.

A Turlock man was killed and another critically injured in what authorities believe was an alcohol-related crash.

The deceased was identified by the Merced County Coroner’s Office as Ricky Lee Lowe, Jr., 29, of Turlock.

The driver was identified by the California Highway Patrol as 27-year-old Kurt Alan Knapp of Turlock. Knapp has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, according to the CHP.

The fatal crash reportedly happened around 7 p.m. Saturday on Santa Fe Grade, south of Gun Club Road, near Los Banos and southeast of Gustine. The rural road has seen more traffic since Caltrans closed Highway 165 to Highway 140 for construction work.

Both men were in a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado pickup that Knapp was driving at an approximate speed of 55 to 60 mph.

According to the CHP, Knapp allowed the Silverado to drift onto the right shoulder of the road and then overcorrected to the left, losing control of the pickup in the process. The Silverado rolled off the road and came to a rest on its roof submerged in about four feet of muddy water in a ditch alongside the road.

Lowe was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, the CHP reported.

Knapp was airlifted to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto with major injuries. He is in stable condition.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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