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Saturday Morning Crash Claims One, Injures Three

A high speed near head-on collision along Highway 120 near Sutliff Road just east of Escalon on Saturday morning left one driver deceased, his two passengers and another driver with major injuries. A third driver narrowly escaped injury, driving off the roadway to avoid the crash.

According to the California Highway Patrol out of Stockton, the crash occurred just after 5:30 a.m. when an eastbound 2006 GMC veered into the westbound lane, just west of Sutliff Road. The driver of a Subaru, a 22-year-old man from Santa Cruz, observed the GMC in his lane and veered to the right, off the roadway, traveling into an orchard and striking a tree.

A westbound 2006 Ford pickup traveling behind the Subaru was unable to avoid the collision, with the left front of the GMC impacting the left front of the Ford, driven by a 32-year-old man out of Oakdale. The impact sent the Ford off the roadway and into a power pole. The GMC, meanwhile, rotated 90 degrees following the crash and came to rest facing south.

The driver of the GMC was identified by the San Joaquin County Coroner’s Office as Demetrio Martinez-Sanchez, 35, of Mountain View. He sustained fatal injuries as a result of the crash and, despite lifesaving measures by responding personnel, was declared dead at the scene. He had two passengers in the vehicle with him, a 20-year-old man and an 18-year-old man, both listed as being from Sunnyvale. Authorities said all those involved were wearing seatbelts.

“All four had to be extricated,” said Escalon Fire Department Battalion Chief Chris Johnson. “All four were pinned in. We had three ground ambulances there and a helicopter.”

Along with the CHP, Escalon Fire Department and Escalon Community Ambulance, mutual aid was called in from Stanislaus Consolidated Fire, which sent two units, with San Joaquin and Stanislaus County sheriffs’ personnel also assisting.

The Subaru driver escaped injury, according to authorities. The Oakdale man had multiple broken bones and the truck he was driving was basically torn in half due to the collision. The passengers in the GMC also had major injuries and all were taken to area hospitals.

Authorities said both eastbound and westbound lanes of Highway 120 were closed for roughly two-and-a-half hours between Sutliff and Henry roads while physical evidence was collected and clean up and removal of the vehicles and debris were conducted.