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Head-on crash sends two to the hospital

A head-on collision in Ballico caused one vehicle with two young children inside it to overturn and injured two adults, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The collision happened shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday on Santa Fe Drive, east of Palm Avenue in Ballico.

Samuel Torres, 21, of Turlock was driving a 2000 GMC truck eastbound on Santa Fe and Vanessa Cosain, 30, of Ballico was driving westbound on the same road in a 2011 Ford Escape.

For an unknown reason Torres allowed the GMC to drift into the westbound lane, where it struck the Ford head-on.

The GMC became disabled in the westbound lane, while the force of the impact sent the Ford overturning into a ditch off the road.

Cosain had her two children in the Ford — a 2-year-old and a 6-month-old.

“Fortunately, both juvenile passengers were properly restrained in child car seats and did not sustain injuries,” said Merced CHP spokesman Officer Eric Zuniga.

Torres sustained a major injury to his foot and was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, Zuniga said.

Cosain was transported by ambulance for moderate lacerations to face and arms.

The investigation into the collision is ongoing, but at this point the CHP does not suspect that drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash.

Both lanes of Santa Fe were closed for approximately one hour because of the disabled GMC.

The CHP said this collision could have been much worse if the two children had not been properly restrained.

“The California Highway Patrol would like to remind parents, that 90 percent of child car seats are improperly installed in vehicles,” Zuniga said. “Please contact your local CHP office to have your child car seat inspected by a certified child passenger safety technician.”