ATWATER, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – An unsafe lane change resulted in the deaths of two pedestrians in Atwater earlier this month, according to the city’s police department in an announcement on Tuesday.
According to police, at about 9:30 a.m. on November 2, officers responded to the report of a vehicle injury accident in the area of Augusta Lane and Juniper Avenue in Atwater. Officers arrived on the scene to find a single vehicle versus pedestrian traffic collision with two fatalities.
After an extensive investigation officers say that the driver of the vehicle made an unsafe lane change across two lanes of Juniper Avenue and left the roadway putting itself on the sidewalk causing it to strike the two pedestrians from behind, killing them instantaneously.
The investigation by police says that alcohol or cell phone use was not a contributing factor in this collision. The vehicle was also not traveling in excess of the posted speed limit.
Police say that the investigation is ongoing. The driver’s blood recovered at the scene has been cleared for alcohol, but no other controlled substances. The sample has been sent to the Department of Justice for testing and the results are expected in the next couple of weeks, officers say.
Based on the information in this report, Atwater Police say that the department will be requesting two counts of vehicular manslaughter be filed with the Merced County District Attorney’s Office in this case. The report was sent to the District Attorney’s Office on Monday. They expect a charging decision within the next week or so. They will also decide whether it should be a misdemeanor or felony.
Atwater Police say that if anyone has any information about this case, to please contact them at (209) 357-6384. They would also like to remind the public that during the holiday season traffic is much heavier than usual. The family of the two victims is still looking for help with funeral expenses, if you’d like to help you can visit their GoFundMe.