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Crows Landing collision kills Ceres man, injures second driver

A head-on collision on Crows Landing Road on Wednesday resulted in the death of a young Ceres man and serious injuries to a Newman woman, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The deceased was identified by the Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office as Timo Martinelli, 21, of Ceres.

The injured driver is Valerie Torres, 34, of Newman. She sustained major injuries in the crash and was taken by ambulance to Doctors Medical Center.

The collision happened at 4:26 p.m. Wednesday on Crows Landing Road, south of Harding Avenue.

Torres was driving a 2019 Honda Civic southbound on Crows Landing and Martinelli was driving a 2003 Honda Accord northbound on Crows Landing.

For an unknown reason, Martinelli allowed his vehicle to drift into the southbound lane, directly in front of Torres’ vehicle. Torres had no time to avoid the crash and the two cars collided head-on, according to the CHP.

The Honda Civic came to a stop straddling the two lanes of traffic and the Honda Accord was facing northeasterly on the east edge of the road. Both vehicles had sustained significant front-end damage, according to the CHP.

Martinelli was not wearing a seat belt and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

“The CHP would like to remind all motorists, seatbelts, when worn properly, have the ability to save your life when involved in a traffic collision,” said CHP spokesman Officer Tom Olsen.

It’s unknown at this time if drugs or alcohol were factors in the collision.

Crows Landing Road was temporarily closed between Harding Avenue and Bradbury Road. A detour was put in place with minimal delays to the motoring public.