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Denair, Turlock men killed in holiday weekend crashes
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Two local men were killed in separate collisions over the Labor Day weekend.

One of the deceased was identified as 18-year-old Evan Sousa, a recent graduate of Denair High School. The second collision claimed the life of Derek Howell, 30, of Turlock.

Sousa was killed in a solo vehicle accident Saturday morning on Highway 165.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Sousa was traveling northbound on Highway 165, south of Sixth Avenue in Stevinson. He was driving a 2002 GMC Sierra pickup truck at an undetermined speed.

For an unknown reason Sousa’s truck veered across the southbound lane of the two-lane highway and left the roadway.

The vehicle hit several trees before coming to a stop.

The CHP reported Sousa was wearing a seat belt, but sustained major injuries from the accident and died at the scene. Sousa was the only occupant in the truck.

The CHP said the investigation is ongoing and has not determined if alcohol was a factor in the collision.

The second fatal wreck to claim the life of a local man was in the same vicinity as the first.

Howell was a passenger in a 1997 Honda Accord driven by Charles Prusack, 33, of Turlock. The two men were traveling eastbound on Third Avenue in Stevinson around 12:30 a.m. Monday.

According to the CHP, Prusack ran through a posted stop sign at Third Avenue and Highway 165.

As the Honda entered the intersection at an estimated speed of 60 to 70 mph, it was broadsided by a 1994 Freightliner truck traveling northbound on Highway 165.

The brunt of the impact was on the passenger side of the Honda and Howell sustained fatal injuries as a result of the crash. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Freightliner, Eulalio Bernard, 61, of Ceres was unharmed.

All parties were wearing their seat belts.

According to the CHP, Prusack had been drinking, but was not under the influence at the time of the crash.

The investigation is ongoing.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.