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Victims from fatal head-on identified

The names of the two people killed in a head-on collision on Santa Fe Drive have been released by the Merced County Sheriff’s Department.

The deceased were identified as Margarita Leyva-Alonzo, 47, of Turlock and Gabriel Amaro Rufina, 50, of Turlock.

The collision happened around 5:30 a.m. Oct. 24 on Santa Fe Drive, east of East Avenue in Merced County.

Leyva-Alonzo 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.

Leyva-Alonzo and Rufina were both 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.