Highway 152 crash claims two Fresno residents

Two Fresno residents were killed in a two-car crash Wednesday afternoon on Highway 152 in west Merced County, about five miles east of the Santa Clara County border, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The names of the victims, an 84-year-old man and a 76-year-old woman, haven't been released by the coroner's office, pending notification of family.

The crash was reported at 4:19 p.m. Mikael Mikaelian, 70, of Clovis was driving a 2006 Toyota Camry at about 65 mph eastbound on the highway, near the Lower Cottonwood Recreation Area. Both victims were passengers in Mikaelian's car, according to Officer Jesse Lopez, CHP spokesman.

Mikaelian failed to negotiate a right turn in the road and traveled directly into oncoming westbound traffic. His car was struck by a 2004 Ford driven by Theodore Haynish, 52, of Hollister. Haynish had no passengers.

The front of the Ford struck the passenger side of the Camry. Mikaelian was flown to a Modesto hospital with major injuries. Both passengers in the Camry were killed instantly. Haynish suffered minor injuries and said he would seek his own aid, Lopez said.

All parties involved were wearing seat belts. DUI isn't considered a factor in the crash.

Managing Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsunstar.com.