CRASH CRITICALLY INJURES WOMAN: A 23-year-old Lathrop woman was seriously injured Tuesday in an 11:10 a.m. crash on northbound Highway 99 just south of Crows Landing Road, police said. Officer Tom Killian with the California Highway Patrol said it appeared that Tiffanie Helbling had overcorrected when the Ford Focus she was driving drifted toward the center divider. The car went all the way across the freeway and stopped after hitting sand barrels on the right shoulder, Killian said. He said Helbling was unconscious with major injuries when help arrived. The driver's side of the car had major damage, he said. She was taken to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto.
TRAIN CAR JUMPS TRACK: A freight car loaded with canned fruit jumped a rail Tuesday morning along the Modesto & Empire Traction Co. tracks between Seventh and Ninth streets in Modesto. No one was injured and the damage wasn't serious, according to Beard Industrial District Chief Executive Officer Joe Mackil. The company hasn't determined the cause of the derailment, Mackil said. Track damage shouldn't impede freight service on either the M&ET or the Union Pacific tracks, Mackil said.
PUNISHMENT FOR SENIOR PRANK: To make up for a senior prank that went too far, students were busy planting 1,000 trees and plants Tuesday on the grounds of Patterson High School. Principal David Stubbs said about 40 seniors vandalized the campus Monday night as a senior prank, shoving forks into the lawn, pummeling the school with paintballs and greasing locks with lard. Stanislaus County sheriff's deputies caught about eight students, he said, although no arrests were made. Stubbs called for the rest of the students to come forward voluntarily Tuesday morning. Those who did were given the option of beautifying the campus rather than suspension.