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Crash claims life of Planada man
Driver flees scene
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A 23-year-old Planada man is facing multiple felony charges including hit and run, stemming from a vehicle crash that left his passenger dead in a Merced Irrigation District canal.

The identity of the deceased man has not been released as of yet.

The driver, Everado F. Soriano, was arrested following the Saturday morning collision, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The exact time of the crash is unknown but the California Highway Patrol was dispatched to the area of Bear Creek Drive and Plainsburg Road at 7:45 a.m.

According to the CHP, Soriano was driving a 1991 Honda Accord westbound on Bear Creek Drive at an approximate speed of 50 mph. For an unknown reason, Soriano turned the Honda to the left and drove off the south edge of the road and into the MID canal. The vehicle continued down the canal’s embankment, until overturning in the 3 feet depth of standing water.

The CHP stated that both Soriano and the passenger were able to extricate themselves from the vehicle, but the passenger was later found deceased in the canal. The CHP initially reported the man had drowned, but amended that because it’s possible he died from injuries sustained during the crash. An official cause of death is pending the autopsy results.

After getting out of the vehicle Soriano allegedly fled the scene immediately, without trying to help his passenger or contacting authorities, according to the CHP.

Soriano was captured a few hours after the crash was discovered when a CHP officer spotted him riding as a passenger in another vehicle.

He was arrested and booked into the Merced County Jail on charges of felony hit and run, felony driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter. He remains in custody in lieu of a $385,000 bail.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.