A 25-year-old man was killed when the SUV in which he was riding collided with three other vehicles while trying to pass on a two-lane highway near Oakdale.
The driver, a Ceres woman, has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, the California Highway Patrol said.
The crash happened around 5:20 a.m. Tuesday on Highway 120 about 10 miles east of Oakdale. The road there, which is also a segment of Highway 108, is two lanes, with dips and curves. The speed limit is 55 mph, and passing is not allowed.
Erica Linja, 36, was eastbound in a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban when she crossed the double yellow line to pass a semi-truck without a trailer, the CHP said.
In the westbound lane, Linja’s SUV sideswiped a Honda Civic then crashed head-on into a utility pickup. The semi truck then hit the Suburban.
Linja’s passenger, Armando Morones of Empire, was ejected from the SUV. He was pronounced dead at the scene, the CHP reported.
Linja was airlifted by helicopter to a Modesto hospital for treatment of major injuries.
Suffering minor injuries was the utility truck’s driver, a 52-year-old Sonora man working for an Oakdale construction company. He was taken by ambulance to a Modesto hospital.
The two other drivers reported no injuries. The Civic’s driver was a 54-year-old Turlock man, and the semi was driven by a 35-year-old man from Planada, near Merced.
Linja faces charges of felony driving under the influence of alcohol and vehicular manslaughter, CHP Officer Thomas Olsen said.