A driver died Sunday morning after his car was rear-ended by another vehicle, sending both cars into a spin and a fiery wreck on the side of a rural road several miles west of Turlock.
The driver of a Chevrolet Cruze was pronounced dead at the scene. It was unclear whether the driver was a man or woman due to the severe burns the driver suffered, said California Highway Patrol Clint Brown.
Two men were inside the Ford Mustang that crashed into the Cruze's rear. Brown said both men in the Mustang were injured and were taken by air ambulance to area hospitals.
He said investigators suspect the Mustang's driver was under the influence of alcohol when the crash occurred. The cause of the crash, however, was under investigation.
The deadly crash occurred about 7 a.m. at West Main Avenue and South Carpenter Road. A witness told the CHP that he spotted the Mustang pass him at a high rate of speed heading east on West Main before the crash.
The Cruze was heading in the same direction on West Main. Brown said the car was stopped at a stop sign at South Carpenter or had stopped and just started to enter the intersection when the Cruze was struck from behind.
CHP investigators did not find any evidence of the Mustang's driver hitting the brakes shortly before the crash. Brown said the force of the impact sent both vehicles across the intersection and down West Main before both cars spun. The cars came to rest on the south side of the road facing west.
The witness who had spotted the Mustang earlier came upon the wrecked cars. Brown said the both cars were on fire when the witness walked up to check on the Cruze's driver, who was unresponsive in the car.
Brown said the witness then went to help the passenger out of the Mustang. The driver of the Mustang got out of the burning car on his own.
Authorities closed West main and South Carpenter for about a mile as investigators worked at the crash site. About three hours after the crash, authorities opened the roads.