A single vehicle collision on Santa Fe Drive resulted in the death of two people and injured two others on Thursday, the California Highway Patrol reported.
The names of the deceased have not been released pending next of kin notification. One of the deceased was a 37-year-old man from Delhi who was driving the 2005 Toyota Highlander, and the other was the front passenger, a 22-year-old woman from Merced.
The collision happened just after 3 a.m. Thursday on Santa Fe Drive, east of Franklin Road in Merced county.
The 37-year-old man was driving the Highlander westbound on Santa Fe Drive, when for an as yet undetermined reason, he allowed the vehicle to veer off the road and onto the north shoulder, the CHP reported.
The Toyota collided with a section of the concrete canal well abutment, causing it to overturn multiple times before coming to a rest on its roof in the roadway.
It’s unknown how fast the vehicle was traveling when it went off the road and hit the abutment.
The impact caused a fire to spark in the Toyota, according to the CHP.
Both the driver and the front passenger were pronounced deceased at the scene.
A man and woman sitting in the back seat of the car were also injured in the collision. Jasmine Stamps, 22, of Merced sustained major injuries and was taken by ambulance to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. Wesley Weeks, 26, of Merced had moderate injuries and was transported via ambulance to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto.
It’s unknown if the driver and front passenger were wearing seat belts at the time of the collision. The two back passengers were not wearing seat belts, according to the CHP
The investigation into the collision is still ongoing and it has not been determined yet if alcohol or drugs were factors in the crash.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Merced-area CHP at 356-2900.