Friends and family of a Le Grand High School student were in mourning with the news that the 17-year-old was killed over the weekend in a single-vehicle accident on the outskirts of Planada.
The California Highway Patrol said the young man from Planada died early Saturday when his vehicle slammed into a railroad tank car. His name was not immediately released.
The cause of the crash was under investigation.
Investigators said the teenager was driving a 1998 Toyota Camry around 3:40 a.m. east on Santa Fe Drive at a “very high rate of speed.”
He passed through the three-way intersection at Childs Avenue and crashed into the tank car, which was parked on the west side of the roadway, Officer Moises Onsurez said.
His vehicle split into two parts as a result of the crash, the CHP said.
He was alone in the car, and no other vehicles were involved.
Authorities confirmed the teenager was a Le Grand High student.
A Facebook post from Le Grand Bulldogs Athletics called it a “sad day for LGHS.”
“Early Saturday morning, a few hours before dawn and about six hours after graduation at the high school, a young man from Planada was killed,” the post said. “He was a junior at LGHS. While we know who the young man was, and suspect the rest of you do, too, out of respect for his grieving family, we’ll wait until his identify (sic) is officially made public. We waited nearly 24 hours to share this link because we couldn’t quite bear the truth.”
The school’s graduation ceremony was held Friday night, according to the Le Grand Union High School District website.
Onsurez said investigators were still looking into where the victim had been in the hours leading up to the crash.
Investigators are asking anyone with information about the crash or victim to contact the Merced-area CHP office at 209-356-2956.