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Woman dies in rollover crash on interstate

A 65-year-old woman was killed and four people suffered major injuries when a 2004 Dodge Durango rolled over on southbound Interstate 5, north of Nees Avenue, on Wednesday, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The victim has been identified as Lourdes Rojas, of Federal Way, Wash., according to the Merced County Coroner's Office.

According to the CHP, the crash happened around 12:30 p.m. as the sport utility vehicle was traveling in the highway's fast lane at about 75 mph.

Another vehicle changed lanes from the slow lane to the fast lane.

The driver of the SUV, 26-year-old Ivan Rojas, hit the brakes and swerved to the left, causing him to lose control.

The vehicle slid sideways, entered the dirt center median and rolled over several times, ejecting the victim and 36-year-old Rufo Rojas, who were not wearing seat belts, according to the CHP.

The Durango came to a stop in the median. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver received minor injuries and was transported to Los Banos Community Hospital. The four other passengers had major injuries and were transported to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.

All of the victims were from Washington, according to the CHP.

Wednesday was Lourdes Rojas' birthday, according to the coroner's office.

Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or