Crime

Witness describes scene when car crashed into home, killing Ceres mother and 2 girls

Witness to deadly crash shares what he saw

A man who said he witnessed the crash of a car into a duplex just outside of Ceres gives an account. The crash early Sunday killed a mother and two of her young daughters.
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A man who said he witnessed the crash of a car into a duplex just outside of Ceres gives an account. The crash early Sunday killed a mother and two of her young daughters.

A 38-year-old mother and two of her little girls, ages 5 and 3, died from their injuries after an SUV crashed into their home early Sunday, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The crash was reported shortly after 1:30 a.m. at duplex on the 1200 block of Sam Avenue, just outside the city limits. The impact, though, was to the rear of the building, off Herndon Avenue.

Emergency personnel found the woman — identified Monday by the Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office as Mari Luz Jacinto-Hernandez — and three girls inside the home. The mother and the 5-year-old were taken to Memorial Medical Center, where they died. The 3-year-old was taken to Doctors Medical Center, where she, too, died.

A third girl, a 10-year-old, was flown to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. She suffered major injuries and there was no information Monday on her condition.

The driver in the crash, 46-year-old Felix Ferdin of Modesto, suffered only minor injuries, the CHP reported. Its preliminary crash investigation found that Ferdin, in a 2007 Chevrolet Equinox, was heading west on Holm Avenue at a high speed and failed to stop at the stop sign at Herndon, where Holm dead-ends.

California Highway Patrol public information officer Tom Olsen on Monday June 10, 2019 talks about a DUI crash that killed a mother and two little girls in Ceres, Calif. early Sunday.

He went through the fence and backyard of the duplex before crashing into the building. A witness who would not give his name told The Bee the driver “didn’t apply the brakes at all.”

Another witness, Eduardo Madueno, indicated anger was one reason Ferdin was driving so fast. He said Ferdin lives on Holm and came out of his house arguing with at least one family member. He got in his SUV and drove away at high speed. Family members chased after him, said Madueno, who added that he saw brake lights come on for just a moment, and then off again before the crash.

Madueno said he did not walk down to the crash scene and learned later that people had died.

A neighbor who shares a wall with the home said her unit suffered damage but no one inside was hurt.

Alcohol and/or drugs appear to factor in the crash, the CHP reported.

Ferdin was arrested and booked into jail on three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter and felony driving under the influence. He remained in custody Monday morning, with bail set at $100,000.

Pending notification of family members, the Coroner’s Office has not released the names of the two girls killed.

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