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Video: Driver of stolen SUV dies in head-on collision

Shattered glass and twisted chunks of automobile parts were strewn across a small section of Highway 59 on Tuesday, following a head-on collision between a large hay truck and an SUV, the CHP reported.

The accident resulted in one fatality — and CHP investigators said the silver Toyota Highlander SUV had been stolen from Modesto today, according to Shane Ferriera, CHP spokesperson.

Ferriera said the accident was reported at 1:40 p.m. on Highway 59 near Sandy Mush Road. The driver of the hay truck was driving southbound of the highway, while the SUV was traveling northbound.

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For unknown reasons, the SUV suddenly veered into the opposite lane and struck the truck, Ferriera said. The driver of the truck was taken to Mercy Medical Center Merced with moderate injuries, while the driver of the SUV was pronounced dead at the scene, Ferriera said.

About 45 gallons of diesel fuel also spilled in the southbound lane of highway as a result of the crash, Ferriera said. As a result, clean-up crews closed the southbound lane, slowing traffic.

The CHP did not release the names of the drivers at press time. Ferriera said it is unknown whether the driver of the SUV was actually the person who stole the car.

Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or