A man suffered life-threatening injuries in a Saturday morning car crash off Highway 99 that witnesses said was caused by a Merced man who fled the scene.
Merced resident Asa Ince, 34, was arrested for felony DUI and hit-and-run charges after he reportedly slammed into the back of another car on the Atwater Boulevard on-ramp to southbound Highway 99, California Highway Patrol Merced Officer Eric Zuniga said.
A man in his 30s driving a 2006 Ford Focus was about to merge onto Highway 99 from the Atwater Boulevard on-ramp at about 6 a.m. when a 2001 Honda Accord driven by Ince slammed into the back of the Ford.
"The impact was so severe it pushed the Focus into the southbound lanes of the highway, causing it to roll multiple times," Zuniga said.
The victim was transported by air ambulance to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto after suffering major head injuries, Zuniga said, adding that it wasn't clear if the victim was wearing a seatbelt and whether he was ejected from the vehicle, Zuniga said.
Zuniga said the victim's name was not being released Saturday morning due to life-threatening injuries and need to notify next of kin.
Witnesses told authorities they saw Ince immediately exit his vehicle and flee after the collision, Zuniga said.
"Witnesses there obtained a very good description on (Ince) and took photos," he said.
Atwater police assisted California Highway Patrol in the search for Ince and located him in the area of Atwater Boulevard and Winton Way, Zuniga said.
Further investigation revealed Ince was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Zuniga said, adding the Honda involved in the crash was registered to his mother.
Ince was transported to a hospital as a precaution and was expected to be booked into jail after he is medically cleared, Zuniga said.