Atwater woman, 21, hurt in major wreck

Crash involves big rig, two cars

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comApril 4, 2013 

— A 21-year-old Atwater woman received major injuries Thursday morning after a crash involving a big rig and two cars on southbound Highway 99 near Atwater.

The crash was reported at 7:25 a.m. near Bert Crane Road. California Highway Patrol spokesman Jason Schoonhoven said Maria Mota, 21, of Atwater was driving a 2006 BMW north on Highway 99, south of Bert Crane Road, and lost control of her car, which went through the median, into the path of a 2005 Cadillac traveling south in the No. 1 lane. It was driven by Vincente Ponce Jr., 36, of Ceres.

Ponce turned his vehicle to the left, trying to avoid a collision, but the front of his car crashed into the back of Mota's vehicle.

The crash caused Mota's vehicle to become disabled in the No. 3 lane of southbound Highway 99, in front of a big rig, driven by Gregory Rodgers, 50, of Livermore. Rodgers was unable to avoid hitting Mota's car, according to the CHP.

The big rig and Mota's car came to a rest on the right shoulder of the southbound side of the highway.

Mota was taken to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto with major injuries. One of the passengers inside the Cadillac, 72-year-old Maria Hernandez, was taken to Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock for minor injuries. Ponce and Rodgers received minor injuries.

Driving under the influence did not appear to be a factor in the crash, which remains under investigation.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or

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