By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Crash kills one, injures sheriff deputy and passenger

A Stanislaus County Sheriff's deputy responding to a call for assistance from a Newman Police officer was involved in a two-vehicle collision Sunday morning that resulted in critical injuries for the deputy and the death of the driver of the other vehicle.

The collision happened around 7 a.m. Sunday at River Road and Villa Manucha Road in Newman.

Deputies were responding with emergency lights and sirens to a Newman Police officer who was requesting assistance.

The involved deputy, identified as Eric Fulmer, 34, sustained major, but non-life-threatening injuries and required surgery, according to the sheriff's department. He has been with the sheriff's department since 2012.

The driver of the other vehicle sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. He was identified as Saul Betancourt, 21, of Modesto.

A passenger in that vehicle had major, but non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The passenger was identified as Maria Prado, 19, of Modesto.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the collision.

Fulmer was driving an undercover 2019 Nissan sedan with the lights and sirens activated, according to the CHP.

The deputy was southbound on River Road, approaching the T intersection with Villa Manucha Road. There is a posted stop sign on Villa Manucha.

A 2015 Chevrolet coupe driven by Betancourt was stopped on Villa Manucha at the intersection, and according to the CHP turned onto River Road, directly into the path of the Nissan.

The front of the Nissan struck the left side of the Chevrolet. The force of the impact sent both vehicles into a nearby field.

Conditions were foggy at the time of the collision. It's unknown at this time if drugs or alcohol were factors in the collision and if all parties were using seat belts.

River Road was closed to traffic for several hours on Sunday.

The investigation is ongoing.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help with funeral expenses for Betancourt. The link is