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Keyes crash takes life of 51-year-old Turlock man
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A 51-year-old Turlock man was killed in a Keyes crash near Highway 99 Saturday evening.

The victim, Robert Cole, was driving a 1993 Ford Festiva westbound on Keyes Road just west of Highway 99 at a high rate of speed when he crossed across the center line and hit head-on into a big-rig pulling a double set of trailers loaded with grapes. Armando Ochoa, 26, of Merced, the driver of the big-rig, tried to swerve to the right in an attempt to avoid the collision but was uable to.

The California Highway Patrol said that the Ford struck the left side of the tractor near the fuel tank. Cole was ejected and died instantly. The collision burst the truck into flames and Ochoa was able to get out of the cab by climbing through the passenger window. The flames burned trees in an orchard near the crash site.

The CHP has not ruled out alcohol as a factor and said Cole was not seatbelted.

Ochoa was traveling at only 35 to 40 mph at the time of the 9:13 p.m. crash.