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Cell phone grab leads to crash into parked car, fire
This parked 1994 Toyota was struck from behind on Boothe Road and burst into flames on Monday evening. - photo by Photo Contributed

An inattentive driver reaching for a cell phone which fell onto the floorboard resulted in a Monday evening crash into a parked car which burst it into flames.

The driver in the 7:30 p.m. crash, Timothy Patterson, 33, of Ceres, was rushed to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto with complaints of pain and injuries to his face.

Ceres Police Lt. Brent Smith said that Patterson was southbound on Boothe Road south of Valley Oak Drive when his full-size 2004 Chevy pickup drifted to the right and struck a mailbox and the parked 1994 Toyota four door passenger car at "dead center." The impact sent the car forward two residences away in the 2100 block of Boothe Road. Smith said it appears that Patterson was traveling at 35 mph. The impact ruptured the gasoline tank and the rear of the badly damaged car burst into flames.

Smith said the vehicle was a total loss.

A third vehicle, parked in a driveway, sustained minor damage to its left front fender.

Smith said Patterson had apparently dropped his cell phone on the floor and as he bent over to reach for it inadvertently turned the steering wheel. No citations had been issued as of deadline.