WINTON — An unconscious 15-year-old Winton girl was found in the road early Tuesday morning after she was apparently struck by at least one vehicle, the Merced County Sheriffs Department said.
The girl, whose identity was not released, smelled of alcohol and was found passed out in the road with tire-tread marks on her back and other evidence indicating that a vehicle may have grazed her head, Sheriff Mark Pazin said.
She was taken to a Modesto-area hospital for treatment. An update on her condition was not available on Tuesday.
Deputy Delray Shelton, a Sheriffs Department spokesman, said the girl is expected to recover from her injuries.
Sgt. Jeff Coburn, a sheriffs detective, found the unconscious girl just before 2 a.m. in the road at Myrtle Avenue and California Street in Winton.
He probably saved her life, Pazin said of Coburn. Shes very lucky to be alive.
Coburn was in the area investigating a gang-related murder and was leaving the scene when he discovered the girl.
The sheriff noted that, had the homicide not occurred in the 6900 block of Myrtle Avenue, detectives would not have been in the area and suggested that the outcome for the girl may have been much different.
How the girl came to be unconscious in the road and what happened to her remained unclear on Tuesday.
Pazin said the girl may have been walking in the area when she was struck by a vehicle.
The sheriff said he hopes someone with knowledge of the incident will come forward.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Merced County Sheriffs Department at (209) 385-7445, call the Merced Area Crime Stoppers at (855) 725-2420, or go to www.mercedareacrimestoppers.org. Callers may remain anonymous.
Staff writer Rob Parsons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 385-2482.