PATTERSON GIRL DIES IN CRASH: A 17-year-old from Patterson was killed in a fatal accident early Saturday when her 2000 Ford Expedition crossed the center lane, swerved to avoid colliding head-on with another vehicle, veered onto a dirt shoulder and overturned several times. An 18-year-old female passenger from Turlock suffered minor injuries, according to a news release from the California Highway Patrol. The driver, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the sport utility vehicle, which burst into flames after it came to rest near the intersection of West Main Street and Jennings Road, east of Patterson. The CHP said alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash, which happened about 3:15 a.m. The car had been traveling about 55 mph on West Main Street. The names of the driver and the passengers were not released.
MAN SENTENCED TO 21 YEARS: A Modesto man who was caught with methamphetamine while he was on probation pleaded no contest Friday to one felony charge and ended up with a hefty prison sentence -- 21 years. According to a statement from the Stanislaus County district attorney's office, the authorities were able to enter Manuel Cabrera Garcia's home on April 18 because he was on probation for a 2006 conviction for drug possession for the purpose of sales. Probation officers found Garcia in his garage with a large amount of crystal methamphetamine and other items used to sell drugs. Garcia, 38, pleaded no contest to possessing methamphetamine for the purpose of sale Friday, when he also acknowledged that he has a strike conviction on his record stemming from an assault in 1989. Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Donald Shaver considered those previous convictions when he handed down the stiff sentence. Garcia must serve 80 percent of the time, or nearly 17 years, before he may be eligible for parole.
MAN DENIED PAROLE: A Turlock man who was convicted of killing his girlfriend's 10-month-old baby a dozen years ago was denied parole Tuesday, after a hearing at Corcoran State Prison. According to a statement from the Stanislaus County district attorney's office, the parole board said Fernando Arreola, 37, was not eligible for parole because he had disciplinary problems in prison and planned to live with a teenage relative if he were released. A jury convicted Arreola of second-degree murder in 1995. The authorities said the child died from shaken baby syndrome. It was the second time Arreola was denied parole. He will have another hearing in five years.
GET HELP INSTALLING CAR SEAT: Beginning Oct. 23, the Modesto Police Department will begin conducting free car seat inspections and installations. Parents can learn how to use a safety seat correctly and ensure the child is secured as safely as possible. The Police Department has three nationally certified safety technicians who were required to attend a weeklong course to learn how to properly install car seats in many types of vehicles. "Due to the large assortment of car seats currently on the market and varying installation methods, many parents are unsure of the proper way to secure their children," said Lt. Bill Ryan, head of the department's traffic unit. The "Buckle up Stanislaus" project is funded through a $297,900 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Parents and caregivers can schedule an appointment by calling the Police Department at 572-9500, ext. 24225.