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Two killed in head-on collision

Two people were killed early Thursday morning, including a woman from Turlock, in a head-on collision caused by a driver suspected of being under the influence, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The names of the deceased have not been released pending next of kin notifications. The Turlock woman was 41 years old. The front passenger, an unidentified male adult, also died in the collision.

The collision happened around 5:30 a.m. Thursday on Santa Fe Drive, east of East Avenue in Merced County.

The 41-year-old woman was driving a 2004 Chevy Venture eastbound on Santa Fe Drive. Headed westbound on Santa Fe was a 2008 Ford Crown Victoria, driven by Charles Everett, 43, of Sacramento.

As the two vehicles neared each other, Everett allowed the Ford to drift into the eastbound lane and it struck the Chevy head-on, according to the CHP. The driver and her front passenger both sustained fatal injuries and were pronounced deceased at the scene.

A second passenger in the Chevy, an unidentified adult man, was sitting in the back and suffered major injuries, the CHP reported. He was transported to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto via helicopter.

Everett had minor injuries and was transported by ambulance to Memorial Medical Center. The CHP’s investigation determined Everett was under the influence of drugs at the time of the collision and he was arrested on suspicion of felony vehicular manslaughter and felony driving under the influence.

All four individuals involved in the collision were wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash, according to the CHP.

The collision is still under investigation and the CHP Merced Area Office is seeking witnesses to the collision.  Anyone who witnessed the collision should call (209) 356-6600.