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Fiery Ceres crash sends Nevada man to hospital
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Flames destroyed a pickup that was pulling this vehicle trailer northbound on Highway 99 early Monday morning just south of the Hatch Road exit.

A fiery crash involving multiple vehicles on northbound Highway 99 south of Hatch Road early Monday sent one man to a local hospital, burned up a pickup and snarled morning traffic for hours.

The California Highway Patrol noted a pickup pulling a trailer with small race cars crashed into the back of a milk truck in the center northbound lane approaching the Hatch Road off-ramp that at approximately 4 a.m. A CHP officer said a cursory investigation revealed the driver of the 2019 Ford pickup, Tanner Thorson, a 22-year-old man from Carson City, Nev. was drowsy and did not respond when the truck in front of him slowed down for a construction zone.

The impact caused the milk truck to enter the fast lane where is struck a 2016 Hyundai Sonata driven by Bradley Hiler, 30, of Hughson. The milk truck then came back across the freeway, entering the slow lane where it struck a 2013 Hyundai Elantra, driven by Anthony Alves, 34, of Merced. The milk truck then overturned onto its right side. Thorson’s Ford came to rest east of the east shoulder where it caught fire.

The crash occurred immediately east of the Stanislaus County Public Works Department headquarters.

Thorson sustained major injuries with broken bones in the crash but his injuries were not judged to be life threatening. The driver of the milk truck, Daniel Hernandez, 29, of Merced, was not injured.

The morning commute was snarled between Ceres and Turlock because of the investigation and the clearing of wreckage.