SUV with up to 10 aboard overturns in east Modesto
MODESTO, Jun 22, 2012 (The Modesto Bee - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Several people riding in a Chevrolet Suburban on their way to a cookout Friday were injured after the driver apparently lost control of the wheel.
The SUV rolled over several times before crashing onto a church lawn in northeast Modesto.
As many as 10 people were in the sport utility vehicle when it crashed along Claus Road, between Merle and Floyd avenues, said Modesto police Sgt. Pat Kimes. The actual number of people riding in the Suburban had not been confirmed.
Medics examined nine people at the scene, and seven people were hospitalized, said Battalion Chief Mark Johansen of the Modesto Regional Fire Authority. Kimes said at least one of them suffered severe injuries in the crash.
About 12:30 p.m., the SUV was heading north on Claus when the driver lost control. Kimes said it appeared the driver over-corrected, so the Suburban turned and rolled over several times.
The SUV came to rest on its roof, facing south on the side of a grassy hill on the lawn of The Well Community Fellowship church in the 2500 block of Claus Road. It appeared that no other vehicle was involved in the crash.
Kimes said the people in the SUV were heading to a cookout at a nearby river, possibly Stanislaus River just north of Riverbank. The SUV's roof was crushed, and the grass was littered with back packs, packaged hot dogs, ketchup and mustard bottles and a bag of charcoal briquettes.
Johansen said the people in the vehicle were all out when firefighters arrived at the scene. Four ambulances were called to the scene.
One young man, who did not appear injured, was detained and questioned by police. He initially was handcuffed and was sitting next to a tree on the church lawn as people in the SUV were loaded onto ambulances.
Before he was detained, the young man could be heard yelling "Call my mom" a few times as a passersby stopped to help. Police believed the detained man was the driver, however, that had not been confirmed.
Kimes said the young man had not been arrested, and officers removed the handcuffs soon after. Police officers detained him as precaution before determining whether alcohol or drugs was a factor in the crash.
There were no obvious indications at the crash site that alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash, Kimes said.
One woman at the scene said she didn't see the crash happen but stopped to help. She said she saw two females running from the overturned SUV, indicating they couldn't stick around because they were on probation.
She also said people who had already got out of the wrecked SUV were helping pull out the others still inside.
Kimes said the department's Major Accident Investigation Team was heading to the scene to take measurements and look for possible evidence. That portion of Claus was expected to be closed to traffic in both directions for at least another hour.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2394.
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