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Dos Palos victim identified after fatal crash in Fresno County

Merced Sun-Star file photo

The victim of a fatal single-vehicle crash in Fresno County was identified by authorities Wednesday as 49-year-old Juan Flores Lomeli.

Lomeli, a Dos Palos resident, was identified by the Fresno County Coroner’s Office as the driver of a black 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe found submerged in the canal Monday night.

Lomeli and another male passenger were driving in the Tahoe north on North Russell Avenue, approaching a bridge over a canal south of West Althea Avenue, at about 8 p.m. Monday when for unknown reasons the Tahoe swerved off the west side of the road into the canal, CHP Los Banos Officer Shannon Stiers said.

The passenger told officers he was able to exit the vehicle, but wasn’t sure what happened to Lomeli, Stiers said. He walked back to a residence in Dos Palos to call 911.

CHP officials removed the SUV from the water but didn’t find the driver until the following day when his body was recovered by divers from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities were still investigating whether drugs or alcohol were involved in the collision, Stiers said.