A 25-year-old woman from Los Banos reportedly was speeding and trying to pass multiple vehicles when she slammed into an oncoming car south of Merced on Thursday, killing herself and a young child riding in the back seat, authorities said.
The woman and the child, whose names were not released, were pronounced dead at the scene of the afternoon crash on Highway 59 near McNamara Road. An infant who was also in her car was airlifted to a Fresno hospital. The driver of the oncoming vehicle was flown to a hospital in Modesto.
The woman was northbound on Highway 59 in a Nissan 200SX and tried to pass multiple vehicles, according to Officer Moises Onsurez of the California Highway Patrol. She was driving about 70 mph in a 55-mph zone, he said.
At the same time, a 35-year-old woman, also from Los Banos, was southbound on Highway 59 in a Nissan Murano.
Apparently attempting to avoid crashing into each other, both drivers veered toward the westward shoulder of the highway and ended up colliding head-on, Onsurez said.
The infant pulled from the Nissan 200SX was described as a boy 6 to 9 months old.
The crash caused both lanes of Highway 59 to be closed temporarily.