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Ceres driver causes, dies in Merced crash
car crash graphic

A 40-year-old man from Ceres was killed in a Sunday evening three-vehicle crash outside of Merced which the California Highway Patrol said he caused.

The name of the deceased was withheld pending notification of the next of kin.

The crash occurred at approximately 8:38 p.m., MCC, on Lake Road north of Yosemite Avenue northeast of Merced.

The California Highway Patrol determined that Melanie Graham was driving southbound on Lake Road in her 2018 Dodge Durango and had come to a stop at the stop sign at the intersection of Yosemite Avenue. Behind Graham was a 2014 Honda Accord driven by Rita Ceja who was slowing to about 10 mph preparing to come to a stop. For an unknown reason, the Ceres man was coming up on both vehicles in a 2001 Honda Accord and slammed into the rear of Ceja’s vehicle at speed of between 40 to 50 mph, causing a chain reaction crash into the Dodge. The Ceres driver was unconscious and did not appear to be wearing a seat belt. He had to be extricated by emergency personnel and was rushed to Mercy Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. The driver and passengers in the 2014 Honda were transported to Mercy Medical Center for complaints of pain and other minor injuries.

Alcohol and/or drugs do not appear to be a factor in the traffic collision.