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Hwy 99 solo crash deadly near Keyes overpass

A solo fiery vehicle crash outside of Keyes the day before Christmas took the life of a male driver, reported the California Highway Patrol.

The ensuing fire after the crash has complicated the identification of the victim. The Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office believes they know the identity of the victim but would not release that information pending confirmation from DNA testing with family members, said Sheriff Sgt. Jesus Sigala.

The crash occurred at 12:55 a.m. early Saturday when the driver of a Toyota RAV4 was driving southbound on Highway 99 when at the Keyes Road off-ramp for some unknown reason he veered off the west side of the roadway into the dirt and struck a tree. The vehicle then burst into flames. When firefighters and the law enforcement officer arrived, they found the vehicle on fire and the victim inside the rear portion of the SUV. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The CHP said it is unknown if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash and that it is under further investigation. The area was blanketed with fog at the time.