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Girl killed in Turlock collision identified as Wakefield student
Josue Leyva
Josue Leyva

A man behind the wheel in a crash with a motorcyclist who fled the scene, crashed again moments later causing fatal injuries to an 11-year-old girl, the Turlock Police Department reported.

The deceased was identified as Yarely Lopez. She was a student at Wakefield Elementary School in Turlock.

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic accident that claimed the life of one of our students," said Wakefield Principal Luisa Power. "Yarely was a sixth grade student at Wakefield Elementary. She was a loving and thoughtful girl who always had a smile on her face. She will be sorely missed by our Wakefield family.

"We are working closely with Jessica’s House and our TUSD mental health clinicians to support students and staff during this very difficult time," Power said. "Please keep Yarely’s family in your thoughts and hearts."

The driver has been identified as Josue Leyva, 25, of Turlock. He has been arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and multiple charges of hit and run causing injury, according to the police department.

The fatal collision happened at 5:22 p.m. Sunday at the intersection of Lander and Linwood avenues.

The deceased was a passenger in a Honda Civic that was struck by a 2018 Ford SUV, driven by Leyva. It's not yet known what directions the two vehicles were traveling in at the time of the collision.

The driver of the Ford SUV fled the scene on foot.

The first officers to arrive at the scene found the 11-year-old with severe injuries. She was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced deceased.

The four other occupants in the Honda Civic all suffered minor injuries and were also transported to a local area hospital, the police department reported.

As the investigation proceeded on Sunday, officers learned the SUV had been involved in another collision. This collision was in the 1600 block of Lander Avenue and involved a man riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle. The motorcyclist suffered moderate injuries as a result and was transported to a local area hospital, according to the police department.

Preliminary information show high speeds were a factor in these collisions. It is not known if alcohol or drugs were a factor.

Leyva voluntarily came to the Turlock Police Department and was interviewed by detectives. He was subsequently arrested and booked into the Stanislaus County Jail.

The Major Accident Investigations Team members from the Modesto and Turlock police departments responded to the scene to assist with the investigation. The investigation caused road closures for nearly seven hours while officers examined and collected evidence.

This remains an on-going investigation and the Turlock Police Department asks anyone with information about this incident to call Officer Gregory Roton at (209) 668-6536. People can also contact the Turlock Police Department’s Tip Line at (209) 668-5550 extension 6780 or email at