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Driver dies in Modesto collision


A woman lost her life in a two-car collision in Modesto a little before 1 Thursday morning.

Modesto Police Department spokesperson Heather Graves said the 53-year-old woman was driving on southbound McHenry Avenue and ran a red light at the intersection with Sylvan Avenue. Her car hit another vehicle going westbound on Sylvan.

The woman's car continued on, hitting several light poles before coming to a stop, Graves said. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene.

The driver's name has not been released.

Two men in the struck vehicle suffered minor injuries, Graves said.


Make-A-Wish® and the National Parks Service grants child's wish to become a Yosemite park ranger.


The Make-A-Wish Foundation and the National Parks Service granted an 8-year-old's wish to become a Yosemite park ranger on Tuesday.

Gabriel Lawan-Ying received the title of Honorary Park Ranger after a full day of work in Yosemite National Park. Lawan-Ying, from Gainesville, Florida, helped crews put out a wild fire, perform a rescue operation involving an injured hiker and assisted the Yosemite medical team in transporting the patient to a helicopter.

Lawan-Ying was honored at a ceremony at the end of the day. He received his Honorary Park Ranger badge, a wooden park ranger plaque, and a flag that was flown over Yosemite Valley the previous day.

Lawan-Ying has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and was granted his wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions in the United States.

Special needs man found dead in Modesto


A Modesto family is pleading for the public's help to solve a murder mystery.

Someone killed 24-year-old Salvador Rodriguez. He was mentally disabled and had the mental capacity of a 10-year-old.

Rodriguez's body was discovered in an open field near a Highway 99 off-ramp in Modesto on May 17, a week after he was last seen by his family members. A nearby resident called police after smelling a foul odor.

Sisters identified in double shooting in Merced County town


Authorities say two sisters who were allegedly killed by the estranged husband of one of them have been identified.

The victims were 47-year-old Rhonda Hiatt of Mariposa and her sister, 51-year-old Lisa Robbins of Hilmar, the Merced County Sheriff's Department said. The women were each shot multiple times and found in the backyard of Robbins' Hilmer home Friday night.

The suspect in the shootings, Rhonda Hiatt's husband, 49-year-old Bryan Scott Hiatt of Mariposa, was fatally shot by Merced County sheriff's deputies in a confrontation at a Motel 6 in Turlock early Saturday morning. Turlock police detectives are investigating the officer-involved shooting.


Body discovered in Modesto field identified


SACRAMENTO - A man whose body was found two weeks ago in a Modesto field has been identified.

According to the Modesto Police Department, Salvador Rodriguez, 24, was found in an open field on the 300 block of Tuolumne Boulevard on May 17 by a resident investigating a foul odor. The field is next to the resident's home and near the Tuolumne Boulevard off-ramp from southbound Highway 99.

Police Department spokesperson Heather Graves said Rodriguez's family said they last saw him on Thursday, May 1. He was wearing a gray t-shirt, black pants and black high top Circa-bran skater shoes at the time.

Graves did not expand on the cause of death.

Modesto Airport faces end of passenger service


MODESTO, Calif. (AP) - The end of airline passenger service is looming for Modesto Airport. SkyWest Airlines' Flight UA5453 on Wednesday afternoon will be the carrier's last flight from the airport.

The Modesto Bee reports that departure will mark the first time in decades that the airport has not had commercial passenger service.

SkyWest is ending its three daily flights between Modesto and San Francisco International Airport because of poor performance in the market and several years of declining passenger numbers.

The flights have used 30-seat turboprop aircraft. The city and its airport consultant are hoping to land a deal for twice-daily flights to and from Los Angeles International Airport in 50-seat jets.


Windswept fires kept firefighters on the defensive for another day.

Windswept fires kept firefighters on the defensive for another day.


SACRAMENTO - Another day of wind kept firefighters on the run across Northern California, battling grass and brush fires.

A fire alongside Sacramento's old dump beside the Capitol City Freeway sent city fire crews on the offensive shortly before 1:30 p.m. Friday. The windswept blaze burned 8 acres before it was contained. Arson is suspected and police have detained a suspect for questioning.

A fire that broke out in Elk Grove along Civic Drive was contained to about 1 acre. The blaze was caused by someone mowing the grass in the middle of a windy day.

"This week is a classic example of when you should not be doing defensible space," Cal Fire spokesperson Daniel Berlant said. "In the hot temperatures, dry conditions and a little bit of wind, that's gonna allow a fire to quickly spark and ignite and spread very, very quickly."