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Alcohol use suspected in crash that kills 2 north of Modesto

Two people died and two others suffered major injuries early Saturday in an alcohol-related traffic accident on McHenry Avenue north of Modesto, the California Highway Patrol reported.

Thomas Grissom, 30, of Oakdale, and Alice Strelow, 52, of Stockton, were pronounced dead at the scene, according to the CHP. Grissom and Strelow were in separate vehicles.

CHP investigators believe Grissom was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.

About 2 a.m., Myron Smallin, 49, of Stockton, was driving a 2003 Pontiac north on McHenry and was stopped at Ladd Road. Strelow was riding in the Pontiac's front passenger seat.

Grissom was driving a 2003 Ford on McHenry in the same direction and approaching the Pontiac at a high rate of speed, according to the CHP.

Grissom didn't stop in time, and the left front of the Ford struck the Pontiac's right rear.

The Ford's left front tire ripped through the Pontiac and tore off the car's right side, including its roof, the CHP reported.

Strelow was ejected and pushed by the Ford approximately 100 feet from the point of impact. The Pontiac came to rest on its wheels facing north in the southbound lane on McHenry.

Grissom's vehicle continued north, hit an asphalt curb, overturned, and struck three guy wires and a utility pole before coming to rest on its roof in a southerly direction in the northbound lane, the CHP reported.

Kasey Hagens, 21, of Oakdale was a passenger in Grissom's vehicle. The CHP said Hagens suffered major injuries and was taken by ambulance to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto.

Smallin, the driver of the Pontiac, suffered major injuries and was taken by ambulance to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto.

To comment, click on the link with this story at www.modbee.com. Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at rahumada@modbee.com or 578-2394.

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