A man killed Tuesday morning in a Merced County crash has been identified by the Merced County Sheriff's Office as 69-year-old Dos Palos resident Francisco Suarez-Barocio.
Suarez-Barocio was driving five other family members from Dos Palos in a black Chevrolet Tahoe just before 9 a.m. east on Sand Slough Road between Los Banos and Merced when he approached a 90-degree turn in the road to Nickel Road, California Highway Patrol Los Banos Officer Dean Emehiser said.
Suarez-Barocio applied the brakes, according to a news release, but the SUV continued east off the roadway and onto a gravel pit that launched the vehicle onto a pole spanning the width of a canal, Emehiser said. The vehicle then overturned, landing on its top in the canal.
CHP previously reported that a bystander had helped rescue the five passengers in the vehicle. But investigators later said one of the adult passengers was able to remove a 1-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl from the vehicle. Officers said the passenger also helped the two other adult passengers to safety.
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The updated release also states that the children were airlifted to Madera Valley Children's Hospital as a precautionary measure, instead of a Merced hospital as previously stated by CHP.
Two of the adult survivors, 25-year-old Alejandro Chavez and 22-year-old Sophia Babakhan, were uninjured in the crash, according to the release. But the third adult passenger, 50-year-old Maria Lopez suffered minor injuries and was transported to Memorial Hospital Los Banos.
Everyone in the vehicle was restrained with a seat belt or safety device except for the 2-year-old girl, the release states.
Speed may have been a factor in the crash, Emehiser said.