A pickup truck tumbled end over end down an embankment off Highway 99 in Turlock Thursday morning, ejecting the three occupants.
The driver and the two passengers in the 2006 Ford F-250 were not wearing seat belts, said California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Thomas Olsen. Two of the men sustained major injuries and one had moderate injuries, Olsen said.
“These men are very fortunate to be alive,” Olsen said. “This very easily could have resulted in three fatalities. Seat belts when worn properly have the ability to save lives and reduce injuries.”
The collision happened around 9:30 a.m. Thursday near the Monte Vista Avenue exit on northbound Highway 99.
The truck was in the fast lane, when for an unknown reason the driver, Arturo Oneal, 36, of Modesto, allowed the truck to drift into the center divider. He then veered across all three lanes of traffic causing the truck to go off an embankment on the east side, rolling over at least twice, Olsen said.
Emergency personnel arrived at the scene and took all three men to area hospitals via ambulances. Oneal was taken to Memorial Medical Center with a spinal fracture. Passenger Manuel Ortiz, 30, of Modesto, was taken to Doctors Medical Center with a collapsed lung and three fractured ribs. The other passenger, Brandon Beasley, 36, of Modesto, was taken to Doctors Medical Center with a nasal fracture and multiple abrasions.
Drugs and alcohol were not considered to be factors in the collision. It’s unknown at this time how fast the truck was traveling when it crashed.
The investigation into the collision is ongoing.