Merced County Coroner’s Office releases victims' names in three unrelated fatal incidents

12/17/2013 4:46 PM

12/17/2013 7:57 PM

The Merced County Coroner’s Office on Tuesday released the names of three people killed in unrelated incidents over the last week.

Christian Gonzalez Terrones, 30, was identified as the man killed Dec. 11 when a 300-pound gasoline tank exploded on remote Merced County Ranch on Highway 59, about halfway between Merced and Snelling.

The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health is investigating the deadly explosion that killed Terrones and badly burned two others. The names of the survivors have not been released. A call to Cal-OSHA was not returned Tuesday.

Investigators have said the three workers, who were employees under contract through Big Valley Labor Inc. out of Winton, were refurbishing three tanks when one exploded.

The Coroner’s Office released the name of a 14-year-old boy who died Friday after he was struck by a train on East Santa Fe Avenue, near Keely Avenue and McKee Road.

Merced County sheriff’s investigators said John Luzania was walking on the tracks wearing headphones and the train’s conductor was unable to stop the engine to avoid the collision.

Ricardo Gonzales, 24, was identified as the pedestrian struck and killed Saturday on Meadowbrook Avenue, north of Oakland Avenue.

The California Highway Patrol arrested Shirley Smith, of Merced, as the suspected driver in the fatal crash.

Smith, 54, was booked at the Merced County Main Jail on suspicion of hit-and-run causing death. She posted an $11,000 bail bond and was released that day, authorities said.

Toxicology test results to determine whether drugs or alcohol were factors in the collision could take four to six weeks, Officer Jason Schoonhoven said.

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