Law & Order

MODESTO WOMAN DIES IN CRASH: A 39-year-old Modesto woman died in a vehicle crash west of Modesto on Tuesday when the 2001 GMC she was driving crashed into another GMC, the California Highway Patrol reported. A 4-year-old riding with her sustained major injuries and a 5-year-old suffered minor injuries. Jill M. Bettencourt was driving west on Highway 132 at Stone Avenue about 10:30 a.m. and apparently did not see the GMC truck stopped in front of her, the CHP said. She swerved to avoid the truck, but hit its right rear. Bettencourt's GMC ran off the north edge of the highway and coasted to a stop against a utility pole. The other driver was not injured. Everyone involved in the crash wore seat belts or were in car seats, the CHP reported.

SKETCH RELEASED OF RAPIST: The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department has released a sketch of a man who reportedly forced his way into a woman's car in September before raping her in an orchard. On Sept. 15, a 25-year-old woman driving near Maze Boulevard and South Hart Road pulled over to look for her cell phone. A man in his 40s forced his way into her vehicle, said sheriff's spokesman deputy Royjindar Singh. Using a knife, he made her drive to a remote orchard, then raped her repeatedly, Singh said. The man was described as 35 to 45 years old, 6 feet 3 inches tall, weighing 240 pounds with a muscular build. Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 521-4636.

GUNMAN INVADES HOUSE: A gunman looking for a man named "Ramon" burst into a house in the 800 block of Benson Avenue in Modesto on Tuesday, forcing a man to the ground before fleeing with a second man, police said. No one named Ramon lives at the house, said Sgt. Craig Gundlach, police spokesman. Just after 8 a.m., the man knocked on the door. Speaking in Spanish, he asked the 12-year-old girl who answered if her father was home; she said he was still asleep. The man returned later and knocked again. When the girl opened the door, the man saw a man sitting in the living room. He barged in, pulled out a gun, told the man to get on the floor and asked repeatedly for "Ramon." A second man, who had waited outside, began to move into the back yard, but the family's dog started barking. The girl and her mother were screaming, Gundlach said, and the father was able to run outside to look for a police officer who often parks at a nearby school. The officer wasn't there, and when the father returned, the men were gone. The gunman was described as 5 feet 8 inches tall and 150 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, and wearing a black leather jacket. He appeared to be in his mid-30s. A description of the second man was not available. An unfamiliar gray Honda was parked nearby, but police were not sure if the men left in it. Anyone with additional information can call CrimeStoppers at 823-4636.

EXPLOSIVE FIND IN SONORA: A Sonora woman found a bag holding a grenade and an anti-tank round while cleaning out her grandmother's attic Monday, Sonora police reported. The woman called police, who determined that the hand grenade was a World War II pineapple-style weapon with the pin still in it. There were several other detonators in the bag and an anti-tank round. The area was secured and the Calaveras County Bomb Squad was notified, said Lt. Mark Stinson. The squad arrived and X-rayed the grenade; it was not clear if it was live. The squad collected the explosive devices and took them back to Calaveras County for destruction.

WRECK VICTIM IDENTIFIED: The Stanislaus County coroner's office identified the Patterson teenager who was killed in an automobile accident early Saturday as Korressa Mitchell. The California Highway Patrol said the crash happened about 3:15 a.m. The 17-year-old's 2000 Ford Expedition crossed the center lane, swerved to avoid hitting another vehicle head-on, veered onto a dirt shoulder and overturned several times. An 18-year-old female passenger from Turlock suffered minor injuries, according to the CHP.