A 73-year-old man from Ripon died Friday morning in a single-car accident on Highway 99 south of Merced.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the accident occurred at 6:44 a.m. in the southbound lanes of the highway at Worden Road.
Gerald Young, 67, of Modesto was driving a 2000 Dodge south on the freeway when for an unknown reason, he allowed the car to drift to the right. The Dodge struck a guardrail, sending the car out of control and onto the right shoulder of the road.
A passenger in the car, whose name was not released pending notification of his family, suffered fatal injuries. Young was taken to Doctors Medical Center with minor injuries.
Cause of the accident is under investigation, but the CHP said investigators do not believe drugs or alcohol was a factor.