At least 4 hurt in crash involving UC Merced bus, 2 other vehicles

09/12/2013 8:36 PM

09/13/2013 8:36 AM

Four people were injured Thursday in a traffic collision near Lake and Dunn roads involving a UC Merced CatTracks bus and two other vehicles, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The bus was southbound around 11 a.m. on Lake Road near Dunn Road, just south of UC Merced, when a Dodge Caravan eastbound on Dunn Road failed to stop at a stop sign, according to officer Jason Schoonhoven. Samuel Chan, 20, of Merced, who was driving a Toyota Scion northbound on Lake Road, swerved to avoid the Caravan, driven by 51-year-old Ariel Escobar of Merced, the CHP said.

Chan turned right, leaving the roadway before losing control of his car and traveling across the road into the front end of the bus, driven by Frank Medina, 35, of Merced, the CHP said. Chan’s car then left the roadway again and struck a eucalyptus tree on the east side of Lake Road, according to the CHP.

The bus ended up on the west shoulder of Lake Road after passing through a dry canal bed and striking a cement barrier. The Scion and the bus sustained major damages. Chan was flown to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto with major injuries.

Chan was treated in the hospital’s emergency room Thursday. His condition was unknown.

Medina and two of the six passengers on the bus reported minor injuries, according to the CHP.

Lan Nguyen, a 19-year-old sophomore, said she was staring out the bus window when she heard the driver slam on the brakes. “The bus started hitting the brakes and I was lurched forward,” she said, adding the tires screeched before she heard the crash. “A couple of the passengers fell off their seats and hit the ground,” Nguyen said.

The Dodge was undamaged, but Escobar was taken to Mercy Medical Center in Merced after he reported feeling ill.

Traffic in the area of Bellevue and Lake roads was diverted by the CHP because of the crash.

The collision remains under investigation, the CHP reported. Neither alcohol nor drugs appear to be involved in the crash, authorities said.

Sun-Star staff writer Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or

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