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Five injured in early-morning collision

Five people were injured, two seriously, early Saturday morning in a head-on accident on Highway 99 north of Franklin Road in Merced. The driver of one of the vehicles was arrested on a felony drunken driving charge following the 2 a.m. accident.

Officer Shane Ferriera, public information officer for the Merced Area Office of the California Highway Patrol, said a pickup driven by Aubree Hogue, 20, of Dos Palos was southbound in the northbound lanes of the highway and hit a compact car driven northbound by Daniel Wells, 20, of San Diego.

Armando Lule, 19, of San Diego was in the intensive care unit of Memorial North Medical Center in Modesto being treated for major injuries Sunday afternoon but hospital officials refused to release information about his condition.

Lule was a passenger in Wells' car, along with Thomas Reynolds, 23, of San Diego, who was taken to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto for treatment of major injuries. Reynolds was sitting in the right front seat and Lule was in the right rear seat, Ferriera said.

Wells and another passenger, Roger Trueblood III, 19, of San Diego, were treated and released from area hospitals after the accident for apparent minor injuries.

Ferriera said Hogue was driving southbound in the northbound fast lane of the highway at unknown speed. Wells was northbound in the fast lane at about 65 to 70 mph. Wells told officers he saw a vehicle ahead of him swerve to the right and then observed the truck coming at him.

Wells attempted to swerve into the center median to avoid a collision but the right front of the Hogue pickup struck the right front of his car in the northbound fast lane, Ferriera said.

Hogue was booked into Merced County Jail on a charge of felony drunken driving. She remained in Merced County Jail Sunday night in lieu of $200,000 bail, according to a correctional official.

The accident remains under investigation, Ferriera said.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger

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