Afternoon Newsletter

UPDATE: Fatal accident closes Highway 99 near Delhi

An 18-year-old Fresno man was struck and killed by a big rig Monday morning on southbound Highway 99 in the Delhi, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The incident was reported around 4:20 a.m. near the Collier Road exit, according to Officer Jason Schoonhoven.

The Merced County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as Maison Douglas Eckenrod. According to the CHP, Eckenrod was driving a 1999 Isuzu Amigo southbound on the highway at an unknown speed. For unknown reasons, the Isuzu veered to the right off the roadway and crashed into a metal guardrail.

The Isuzu overturned and came to a rest blocking the slow lane. Eckenrod exited the vehicle and stood on the right shoulder, just south of where his vehicle had come to a rest.

About three minutes later, John Vanderveen, 30, of Tulare, was driving a 2008 Peterbilt big rig pulling a cattle trailer, approaching the collision scene.

Vanderveen observed debris in the roadway and began to move his vehicle to the left, into the fast lane. As Vanderveen attempted to move into the fast lane, for unknown reasons, Eckenrod ran from the shoulder into the roadway, directly into the path of the Peterbilt truck.

The truck collided into Eckenrod and the Isuzu. As a result, Eckenrod sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the big rig wasn’t hurt.

Southbound Highway 99 was closed for a short time after the incident.

The crash remains until investigation.

— Sun-Star staff