Separate crashes injure two drivers over two days

cpride@losbanosenterprise.comJuly 11, 2013 

Two separate crashes on back-to-back days left drivers injured, California Highway Patrol officer Jesse Lopez said.

Lopez said a 2004 Cadillac was eastbound on Highway 152 west of the Romero Visitors Center at 8:40 p.m. Sunday when the car drifted to the right.

Initial reports at the scene indicate the car overturned a number of times and then caught fire. Passers-by got the woman out of the car and Cal Fire crews and paramedics arrived shortly thereafter. Odessa Taboada, 45, of Morgan Hill, is in critical condition.

"She was banged up pretty good," Lopez said.

Taboada was airlifted to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto.

The accident caused minor traffic delays.

On Monday, Alyssa Estrada, 22, of Firebaugh, was driving a 2000 Mitsubishi Montero northbound on Highway 33 near Firebaugh at 11:55 p.m. when she lost control of the vehicle. The Mitsubishi overturned several times and Estrada, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the vehicle. She landed on the highway's east dirt shoulder. Yesenia Zamora, 21, of Dos Palos, Jesus Aljandre, 24, of Mendota and Marcos Montes, 21, of Firebaugh were passengers in the vehicle. They all refused medical attention, Lopez said.

Estrada was airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, where she was being treated for major injuries.

Crashes kill bikers

Two motorcyclists were killed in separate crashes over the Fourth of July weekend on Merced County's westside, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The names of the victims haven't been released, pending notification of next of kin.

The first crash was reported at 5:18 p.m. July 5 on Highway 33, north of Centinella Avenue in the Santa Nella area, said officer Jesse Lopez. A 31-year-old man from Sparks, Nev. was riding a 2011 Harley Davidson northbound on Highway 33.

After traffic came to a stop, the motorcyclist pulled into the opposing lane to avoid the traffic. Jamey Bethard, 36, of Hollister was driving a 1994 Toyota southbound on the highway. Bethard saw the motorcycle traveling toward him and tried to swerve out of the way, Lopez said.

The driver of the Toyota was unable to avoid a head-on crash with the motorcycle. The motorcyclist was ejected from the Harley Davidson and sustained fatal injuries.

The other crash was reported July 5 on eastbound Highway 152, east of the Romero Visitor Center. A 60-year-old Los Banos resident was riding a 2007 Harley Davidson motorcycle in No. 1 eastbound lane of the highway at 65 mph.

Witnesses said the motorcycle began to wobble, and the rider was unable to maintain control. The motorcycle traveled into the center median and overturned, ejecting the rider. The rider sustained fatal injuries.

Both riders were wearing helmets. DUI is not suspected as a factor in either crash.

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