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Fatal crash reported on Highway 152

A 20-year-old Fresno woman is dead after a two-vehicle crash reported Sunday evening on eastbound Highway 152 near the San Luis Reservoir.

The woman has been identified by the Merced County coroner as Celeste Equihua. Three children and one adult suffered major and moderate injuries.

The crash occurred about five miles east of the Merced County/Santa Clara County line shortly after 6 p.m.

Equihua was driving a 2008 Honda westbound on Highway 152 when it crossed the center divide and struck the passenger side of a 2007 Honda driven by Pavel Rodriguez, 35, of Salinas. Rodriquez had three children, ages 5 to 9, in her car, said officer Jesse Lopez, CHP spokesman.

Equihau's car overturned and came to a rest on its roof. The second car came to a rest on its wheels in the shoulder roadway edge of eastbound Highway 152.

Paramedics declared Equihua dead at the scene. She'd been driving alone.

Rodriguez and two 5-year-old boys suffered major injuries. A 9-year-old girl in the car suffered moderate injuries. All were flown to regional hospitals.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. There's no indication DUI was involved in the crash. Everyone involved was wearing seat belts.

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

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