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Diners hurt as IHOP slammed by Hummer
IHOP crash.tif
The scene of Sunday morning's vehicle crash into the International House of Pancakes at Hatch and Richland in Ceres.

A number of early morning breakfast goers sustained the scare of their life and minor injuries Sunday when an out-of-control Humvee SUV punched a hole into the IHOP dining room, sending debris exploding everywhere.

Most of those inside the restaurant at the northwest corner of Hatch Road and Richland Avenue sustained minor cuts and abrasions to their faces, arms and legs.

Police Lt. Brent Smith said the 4:07 a.m. crash occurred when Courtnie Michener, 20, of Ceres was on her way home from a party after picking up her sister, Saucorey Michener, and boyfriend Edgar Gonzalez, both 18, from a school prom. Michener was westbound on Hatch Road and was attempting to turn northbound onto Richland Avenue but instead mowed into a steel traffic signal pole and then into the restaurant, barely missing the six customers who were sitting in a booth just one foot east from where the vehicle entered the building.

Michener reportedly climbed out of the back of the SUV through a rear door and fled the scene in a northbound direction. She was apprehended by officers who noticed that she was displaying signs of intoxication. Michener told police that the steering became hard and that she blacked out. However, she was arrested for felony drunken driving when her blood alcohol content registered at 0.17, nearly twice the legal limit (0.08) for those under the age of 21.

A 27-year-old woman inside IHOP sustained scratches to the back of her head, arms and legs. A 27-year-old Modesto man was taken by ambulance to Memorial Medical Center where he was treated for lacerations to his head and arms. Another man sustained head lacerations.
The restaurant will remain closed until repairs may be made.

A short while before the IHOP crash, police made an arrest of an allegedly intoxicated driver who struck and sheared off a utility pole at the corner of Hatch and Mitchell roads. Power lines were on the ground after the 1:43 a.m. impact. Police arrested Anai Ramos-Tovar, 20, of Modesto, for DUI. Mitchell Road was closed north of Hatch Road approximately two hours while power crews fixed the lines.

In another bizarre crash, a mule had to be destroyed by its owner after it got loose and was struck by a car traveling on Hatch Road Sunday evening. The mule was kept with other mules on property north of Hatch Road. The mule suffered a fractured leg when it was struck by a gravy Chevy pickup at 9:22 p.m. at Hatch and Eastgate Boulevard. Because there was nothing that could be done to save the animal, the owner was allowed to shoot it.
The driver of the pickup was not injured.

In yet another bizarre vehicle collision, a number of chickens died Thursday morning, April 11 when the trailer they were riding in careened off the road and split open after it struck a parked tractor-trailer rig.

Daniel Candarilla, 24, was driving a 2006 Ford pickup and pulling the trailer filled with live Zacky Farms chickens northbound on Crowslanding Road north of Service Road at 5:30 a.m. when it's believed he fell asleep at the wheel. The pickup drifted to the left into the southbound lanes and sideswiped the parked 2006 Volvo tractor and a refrigerator trailer. The pickup then ran through a steel fence near the Sheriff's Department entrance. The trailer cage split open and approximate 300 chickens were loose in the roadway. Police officers tried to corral as many of the chickens as they could before the sun rose.

Another vehicle versus a building crash occurred Wednesday, April 10 when an allegedly intoxicated driver ran into the AM/PM Mini Mart at the northeast corner of Mitchell and Service roads. The front of a 2006 Jeep SUV, driven by Jessie Medina, 36, of Modesto punched the wall of the store at 6:30 a.m.

Police Lt. Brent Smith said Medina was arrested for felony DUI after showed signs of drinking and admitting to being on prescription medication.