Two Merced women, ages 68 and 39, died after being ejected from a 1999 GMC in a solo vehicle crash on Highway 59 north of Oakdale Road on Saturday morning, according to a report from the California Highway Patrol.
A third passenger, Maria G. Alejo, 27, who was also ejected from the vehicle, suffered major injuries and was transported to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. None of the three people who were ejected from the vehicle was wearing seat belts, according to the CHP.
Margarita Silva, 49, of Merced, was driving the GMC at 55 to 60 mph, according to the report. Silva was approaching an ascending, sweeping left curve and passed a silver vehicle over the double-yellow lines.
Upon re-entering the northbound lane, Silva drove onto the northbound dirt shoulder and lost control of the vehicle, the report said. The vehicle then traveled completely onto the right shoulder and overturned through a barbed wire fence and came to rest in an irrigation ditch.
All the other passengers, who were wearing seat belts, suffered minor to moderate injuries, the CHP said.
A total of seven people, including the driver, were in the vehicle, according to the report.
The victims who died will be positively identified through fingerprints today, and their names will be released later in the week after next-of-kin notification, said Deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff's spokesman.
Alcohol wasn't a factor in the crash, according to the report.