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Turlock infant, grandmother among four killed in Modesto collision
Modesto fatal collision
Patricia Marie Lopez, pictured far left, and her 1-year-old granddaughter, pictured right, died of injuries following a multi-vehicle collision on McHenry Avenue in Modesto on Tuesday (Photos contributed).

A head-on collision that triggered a multi-vehicle accident on McHenry Avenue in Modesto killed four people including a Turlock infant, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The collision happened at 4:01 p.m. Tuesday on McHenry Avenue, north of Hogue Road.

A 2004 Mitsubishi, driven by a 19-year-old Angeles Lisset Escoto of Merced, was traveling northbound on McHenry Avenue in the number one lane. For an unknown reason she allowed the Mitsubishi sedan to enter the number two lane and then veered back into the number one northbound lane and then veered into the number one lane of the southbound traffic, the CHP reported.

The Mitsubishi entered the southbound number 1 lane, directly toward a 2019 Toyota SUV, causing a head-on collision.

Casey Middleton, 26, of Escalon was driving a 2001 Ford pickup southbound on McHenry Avenue behind the Toyota and was unable to avoid the collision, striking the Mitsubishi and Toyota before coming to a rest.

A 2014 Ram van, driven by Jose Moreno, 54, of Modesto was going southbound on McHenry Avenue and crashed into the Mitsubishi.

The Escoto and her 22-year-old passenger, Francis Joe Catano of Merced, were both pronounced deceased at the scene, said CHP Officer Tom Olsen.

Modesto fatal collision 2
The collision happened at 4:01 p.m. Tuesday on McHenry Avenue, north of Hogue Road (Photos courtesy of Modesto Fire).

The driver of the 2019 Toyota, Patricia Marie Lopez, 60, of Linden was transported by ground ambulance to Memorial Medical Center where she later succumbed to her injuries, Olsen said.

A 1-year-old Turlock baby was in the Toyota and was taken by ambulance to Doctors Medical Center. She died of her injuries at the hospital, the CHP reported. She was identified as Clara Howell.

The heartbreak of this tragedy was magnified when it was shared that Lopez’s daughter and the mother of Clara, Amanda Howell, works as an emergency room nurse at Memorial Medical Center.

“As an emergency department staff member one of our greatest fears is that our family would be brought in as a trauma or medical emergency,” wrote Ashley Miguel, a friend who organized a GoFundMe account. “While at work on Tuesday 4/9/24 one of our coworkers/friend experienced such a tragedy. Amanda’s mother was brought in as a trauma from a motor vehicle accident while her one year-old daughter who was also in the vehicle was taken to Doctors Medical Center, our other local trauma hospital. Both of them tragically lost their lives.

“Losing your mother/best friend unexpectedly is unimaginable but the loss of a child is a pain I can’t fathom. Our hearts are incredibly heavy for our friend and coworker. Please help us support her and her family while they navigate this horrible tragedy and grieve the loss of Amanda’s wonderful mother Patricia and their precious baby Clara.”

Middleton and Moreno were both uninjured.

It is unknown at this time if drugs and/or alcohol contributed to this collision. The investigation is ongoing.

McHenry Avenue between Ladd Road and the San Joaquin County Line was temporarily closed. Detours were put in place for motorists to navigate safely through the area.

The GoFundMe account is at