Atwater

Merced County man killed in Highway 99 crash has been identified

Merced Sun-Star file

The Atwater man killed during the weekend in a solo-vehicle crash on Highway 99 has been identified, the Merced County Coroner’s Office said on Wednesday.

The 43-year-old Atwater man was killed about 10:44 a.m. Sunday when his car slammed into a pillar below Highway 99 on the outskirts of Merced, according to the California Highway Patrol. He was identified Wednesday as Lawrence Verdin Jr., according to the Merced County Coroner’s Office.

Verdin left southbound Highway 99 at West 16th Street before his 2015 Ford Fiesta veered off the roadway, collided with a pillar and caught fire, according to CHP. Witnesses told investigators the car was traveling about 70 mph and there was no apparent evidence the man attempted to stop the car or apply the brakes, CHP said.

He was traveling alone, and no other vehicles were involved, investigators said.

Several passing motorists stopped to help, pulling the man from the burning vehicle. Emergency responders tried CPR but the man was pronounced dead at the scene, CHP said.

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