A 30-year-old man was critically injured early Saturday when he ran a stop sign at Scenic Drive and Lakewood Avenue, flying off a bluff above Dry Creek but stopping just short of the water, police said.
Jonathan Sallas of Modesto suffered life-threatening injuries, said Modesto police Sgt. Brian Findlen. Sallas was in critical condition in the intensive care unit of Memorial Medical Center late Saturday.
About 3 a.m., Sallas was driving a 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe south on Lakewood in east Modesto when he failed to stop for the stop sign where the street dead-ends into Scenic, Findlen said.
The SUV continued through the intersection, onto undeveloped property south of Scenic, flew off a bluff and hurtled down toward Dry Creek. Findlen said the nose of the SUV plowed into the ground below the bluff, causing the vehicle to flip over onto its top.
It continued sliding on its top toward rain-swollen Dry Creek, Findlen said, stopping within two or three feet of the fast-moving water.
Emergency personnel had to secure the SUV after the crash to keep it from falling into Dry Creek and being swept away. It took two tow trucks working together to get the heavily damaged SUV back up the bluff.
No other vehicles were involved, Findlen said. Police were investigating whether speed or alcohol were factors in the crash.
Anyone who witnessed the accident or who has information on Sallas’ whereabouts before the wreck is asked to call investigating officer Jim Reeves at (209) 572-9500.