Two Patterson residents died Tuesday night when their car collided with the vehicle of another Patterson driver, Martin Padilla – who was later arrested under suspicion of DUI.
The Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office confirmed Wednesday the identities of the deceased victims, Zenaida Mendez, 40, and Ulises Torres-Zepeda, 31.
Around 9 p.m., Padilla, 32, was eastbound on Pomelo Avenue in a 1998 Ford Explorer when he ran a stop sign at the Sycamore Avenue intersection southeast of Patterson, the California Highway Patrol reported.
Padilla’s Ford collided with the passenger side of a 2002 Honda Accord as it entered into the intersection. Mendez was driving the Honda southbound on Sycamore Avenue, where there was no stop sign.
The impact sheared the Honda in half and pushed the vehicle into an orchard tree on the south shoulder. Torres-Zepeda, the Honda’s front passenger, was ejected, the CHP said.
Padilla’s Ford spun into a Turlock Irrigation District power pole before overturning and resting on its driver's side on the south shoulder, the CHP reported.
Mendez and Torres-Zepeda were found deceased at the scene.
Padilla was found standing near his vehicle, and an ambulance transported him to Doctors Medical Center with major injuries. He was later transferred to Stanford Hospital in East Palo Alto.
The CHP reported that Padilla appeared to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision. He was placed under arrest at Doctors Medical Center.
Authorities encourage anyone with information regarding the collision to contact CHP Officer Samuel Mendoza at 209-545-7440.