Five injured in three separate accidents in Merced

Five people were injured in three separate auto accidents around Merced on Tuesday, Merced police said. None of the injuries appeared to be life- threatening.

Steffen Malu, 22, of Merced, was driving a 1994 Ford Aerostar on D Street at 7:48 a.m. when he attempted to turn left on East 13th Street and lost control of his vehicle, spinning around and hitting a 2007 Transit bus head-on. After hitting the bus, Malu's van hit a power pole. Thelma Taylor, 42, a passenger in the Aerostar, was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Two passengers on the bus, Emma Palmer, 66, and Estella Dunn, 53, were treated for minor injuries, police said.

Batista Mondo, 74, of Merced, was driving a 2000 Chevrolet pickup on West 13th Street near R Street at 11 a.m. when he ran a red light and struck a 1998 Chrysler Sebring driven by Shannon Carrillo, 28, of Merced, police said. The crash caused Mondo's truck to veer toward the nearby McDonald's restaurant parking lot, where it struck a curb and went airborne, hitting two parked cars. Mondo was ejected from the truck and was found lying in the parking lot, police said. He was taken by air to a trauma center in Stanislaus County. Carrillo was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

About noon, Marina Pineda, 34, of Atwater, was driving a 2005 Toyota Avalon on West 18th Street near O Street, when she hit a 1996 GMC pickup driven by Mark Pugliese, 56, of Los Banos. Pineda was treated at a local hospital.

Anyone with information about these accidents may call Merced Police Sgt. Jay Struble at (209) 385-4739.

-- Sun-Star staff