CHP: Two die in Ripon accident; Merced man faces charges

An accident left two dead and six injured in Ripon this morning after a van clipped the front of a big rig and rolled, authorities reported.

The accident happened just before 5 a.m. on northbound Highway 99 on the Jack Tone Road off-ramp. Ambrosio Martinez, 21, of Merced, was driving a 1999 Chevy Astro Van in the center lane at 65 to 70 mph when he tried to overtake the big rig travelling 55 to 60 mph in the slow lane, said CHP officer Adrian Quintero. Martinez then tried to exit at Jack Tone, Quintero said.

One woman and two men were ejected from the van. The woman and one man ejected died at the scene. Their names will be released pending family notification. The other passengers sustained injuries ranging from minor to major and were transported to area hospitals.

Drugs and alcohol were not a factor in the crash, Quintero said. The truck driver was not injured.

Martinez, an unlicensed driver, faces charges of vehicular manslaughter and will be arrested after receiving medical treatments, Quintero said.