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Freeway crash injures Turlock woman
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A Turlock woman was seriously injured in a multiple vehicle collision on Highway 99 in Ceres on Thursday afternoon.

The woman was identified by the California Highway Patrol as 63-year-old Karen Stewart of Turlock. Stewart is listed in critical condition at Memorial Medical Center. The exact nature of her injuries was not disclosed.

The CHP said the collision was caused by the driver of a Ford Ranger that made an unsafe lane change. The driver of the Ford Ranger did not stop after the crash.

The Ford Ranger was in the fast lane headed south, when it cut across two lanes to exit at Hatch Road. In the process, the driver cut off a Honda Element traveling in the slow lane, according to the CHP. Stewart was the driver of the Honda.

Trying to avoid hitting the Ford, Stewart hit her brakes, which caused the Honda to spin out on the wet roadway.

The Honda spun out of control into the center lane, directly into the path of a tractor-trailer rig.

The semi truck hit the side of the Honda and jackknifed across the freeway. Two other vehicles then crashed into the semi.

Stewart was knocked unconscious from the collision and was trapped in her vehicle for a period of time before being rescued by emergency personnel.

There were no other injuries reported.

The pile-up caused traffic to back up for about an hour and a half.

The CHP is searching for the driver of the Ford Ranger. The vehicle was described as either red or maroon. Anyone with information about the crash is asked to contact the CHP at 545-7440.

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