49-year-old man killed in SUV vs. forklift crash

A 49-year-old Hilmar man was killed Saturday morning after his Chevy Tahoe crashed into a forklift in the Stevinson area, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The driver's name hasn't been released by the Merced County coroner's office, pending notification of his family or next of kin.

The crash happened about 5:30 a.m. after the Tahoe was traveling southbound on Van Clief Road, north of First Avenue, according to CHP spokesman Ed Macias. Inside the Tahoe was a male passenger in his late teens.

Meanwhile, the forklift, driven by a 27-year-old man, was facing westbound in the southbound lane, loading items onto a flatbed truck near the west shoulder of Van Clief Road.

The driver of the Tahoe didn't spot the forklift in time. He swerved to the left, but was unable to avoid a collision. He crashed into the right side of the forklift, causing the Tahoe to overturn. The driver of the Tahoe wasn't wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle.

The passenger, who was wearing a seat belt inside the Tahoe, was taken to a hospital with a broken femur, Macias said, and the driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the forklift was unhurt.

Alcohol wasn't a factor in the crash, Macias said.