Man killed in early-morning head-on collision in Merced County

One person died in a head-on collision early Monday on Highway 165 south of the San Joaquin River, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Carlos Enrique Godoy Canizalez was traveling south on Highway 165 toward Los Banos in a 2019 Honda Civic. His vehicle crossed into the northbound lane and collided head-on with a 1995 Honda Civic. The crash was reported at 4:18 a.m., according to a statement from the CHP.

The victim was identified by the Merced County Coroner’s Office as 52-year-old Mario Rivera of Los Banos. He died at the scene.

Canizalez, 25, of Keyes, was flown to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto with major injuries.

Both drivers were wearing seat belts. Neither alcohol nor drugs are suspected to have been factors in the crash.

Vikaas Shanker is an award-winning reporter covering education, crime and courts for the Merced Sun-Star and Los Banos Enterprise. After growing up in Naperville, Illinois and graduating from the University of Kansas, he reported in several Chicago suburbs before moving to Merced County in 2016.