A man killed Tuesday morning in a Merced County crash has been identified by the Merced County Sheriff's Office as 69-year-old Dos Palos resident Francisco Suarez-Barocio.
Suarez-Barocio was driving five other family members from Dos Palos in a black Chevrolet Tahoe just before 9 a.m. east on Sand Slough Road between Los Banos and Merced when he approached a 90-degree turn in the road to Nickel Road, California Highway Patrol Los Banos Officer Dean Emehiser said.
Suarez-Barocio applied the brakes, according to a news release, but the SUV continued east off the roadway and onto a gravel pit that launched the vehicle onto a pole spanning the width of a canal, Emehiser said. The vehicle then overturned, landing on its top in the canal.
CHP previously reported that a bystander had helped rescue the five passengers in the vehicle. But investigators later said one of the adult passengers was able to remove a 1-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl from the vehicle. Officers said the passenger also helped the two other adult passengers to safety.
The updated release also states that the children were airlifted to Madera Valley Children's Hospital as a precautionary measure, instead of a Merced hospital as previously stated by CHP.
Two of the adult survivors, 25-year-old Alejandro Chavez and 22-year-old Sophia Babakhan, were uninjured in the crash, according to the release. But the third adult passenger, 50-year-old Maria Lopez suffered minor injuries and was transported to Memorial Hospital Los Banos.
Everyone in the vehicle was restrained with a seat belt or safety device except for the 2-year-old girl, the release states.
Speed may have been a factor in the crash, Emehiser said.