Woman killed in I-5 crash identified

A woman killed in a car accident Sunday on I-5 near Gustine has been identified by the Merced County Coroner’s Office as 65-year-old Michael Ann Howden of Redding.

California Highway Patrol investigators said Howden was pronounced dead at the scene after her car veered off the road and struck a tree. CHP Officer Lance Velez said it’s still unknown why Howden’s car drifted off the road. “That part is still under investigation,” Velez said.

The incident was reported shortly after 12:30 p.m.

Howden had been traveling northbound at an unknown rate of speed on I-5, south of Highway 140. Her 2003 Volvo had drifted off the east side of the interstate and went through a fence, according to the CHP.

The victim’s car became airborne and traveled into a dry creek bed, striking a small tree. Paramedics from Merced County Fire Department responded to the scene, along with officers from the Los Banos CHP office.

There were no passengers in Howden’s car, which had overturned, and no one else was involved in the collision. The victim was pinned inside her car.

Anyone with information about the case can call the CHP’s Los Banos office at (209) 826-3811.

Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsun-star.com.