A man charged in a head-on collision that left three people dead made his first appearance in Stanislaus County Superior Court on Tuesday afternoon.
Bail was set at $5 million for Francisco Martinez, 26, of Modesto, who is charged with three counts of murder and six other felonies.
Authorities allege that Martinez was behind the wheel of a stolen 2002 Mitsubishi Montero that sped away when Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputies spotted it in north Modesto on Sunday afternoon.
Deputies broke off the pursuit for fear of injuring other motorists. The SUV slammed head-on into a Ford Taurus on Claribel Road, killing both people in the car. Martinez’s cousin Brandon Ellis, 20, of Riverbank, was also killed. He was a passenger in the SUV.