Mother, daughter identified in fatal crash

Sun-Star StaffJune 17, 2014 

A woman and child killed over the weekend in a crash outside Los Banos were identified Tuesday as a mother and her 6-year-old daughter, the Merced County Coroner’s Office reported.

Jeanette Bush, 33, of San Jose, and her daughter, Kathryn “Katie” Wenzel, died Saturday after their car crashed through a fence, landing in the Delta-Mendota Canal west of Los Banos. Both were pronounced dead at the scene, authorities reported.

The cause of death was drowning, the coroner’s office said.

The woman and the girl were passengers, along with 8-year-old Kira Wenzel, in a Mazda driven by Robert Rodela, also of San Jose, according to the California Highway Patrol.

They were traveling east on Highway 152 about 5:45 a.m. when Rodela lost control of the car. The Mazda went off the right side of the road, struck the barbed-wire fence and a cement block, and careened into the Delta-Mendota Canal, the CHP said.

Rodela suffered unspecified major injuries and was taken to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, and Wenzel was taken to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento with minor injuries.

The cause of the collision is under investigation, the CHP said, but neither drugs nor alcohol appear to have been a factor.

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