The two women who were killed in separate crashes on Sunday in Merced County have been identified, the Merced County Coroner’s Office reported.
The 31-year-old woman from Dos Palos who died at the scene of a solo-vehicle accident along Highway 59 near Sandy Mush was identified as Elizabeth Bryant, according to the coroners office. The crash happened in the afternoon around 1:20.
Bryant was driving a 1996 Toyota Avalon southbound on Highway 59 when for an unknown reason, she drifted into the northbound lane, police said. The car flipped several times, officials said, and witnesses flipped the car over to try and get Bryant out of it.
Pio Rodriguez, 38, told the Sun-Star in an interview on Sunday he heard the loud crash and saw huge clouds of dust in a nearby home he was barbequing at. After he helped about eight other people flip the car over, he said, he saw her legs move four times and then she stayed motionless.
It is still unknown what speed she was going and if alcohol or drugs were a factor, police said. She was wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash.
Earlier on Sunday, at about 6:10 a.m., a 26-year-old woman from Merced, Joua Xiong, was ejected from a 2000 Toyota Camry when she crashed into a pillar on the north end of 16th Street after getting off the 16th street freeway exit on Highway 99 south. Xiong was alone in the car and no other vehicles were involved.
She wasn’t wearing a seat belt, police said, and it hasn’t been confirmed whether alcohol or drugs played a factor in the crash.