The Merced Sun-Star reports that a fatal crash involving a single vehicle near Atwater early Monday is believed to have been caused by an intoxicated driver.
In a recent news release, investigators with the California Highway Patrol said that the crash happened at approximately 12:545 a.m. in a construction area along Highway 99 just north of Applegate Road.
Officers responded to the site located near the on and off ramps at 1:00 a.m. to find that a 28-year-old man driving a 2010 BMW 328i had crashed his car into an unoccupied vehicle that was parked in the closed construction zone.
According to the statement, the BMW sustained heavy damage. Despite all life-saving efforts, the unidentified driver died at the scene of the crash.
An investigation of the crash revealed that the driver had been traveling northbound on Highway 99 when he got onto a closed exit ramp at Applegate Road.
The driver continued north along the highway at an unknown speed on the newly paved area of the highway until he reached the end of the pavement onto a section that was unpaved for another 250 feet.
CHP investigators said the driver’s side of the vehicle then struck a K-rail on the side of the dirt roadway, causing the vehicle to roll over onto the passenger side. The BMW then slid into a paving machine in the construction zone, crushing the car’s roof. The driver was trapped inside. The man died at the scene before he could be extricated from the wreckage of his car.
Law enforcement officials believe that alcohol was a factor in the fatal crash. The crash remains under investigation.