Child killed in I-5 collision

One child was killed and two others suffered major injuries in a two-vehicle accident Friday night, April 2, on Interstate 5 in the Santa Nella area, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The deceased was identified by authorities as a 9-year-old from Quincy, Washington. Two other minors, ages 5 and 2, also from Quincy, were ejected from the vehicle in which they were riding and sustained major injuries, according to the CHP. The CHP said the two minors who were ejected were not properly restrained in the vehicle.

Authorities said the minors were passengers in a southbound 2003 Toyota driven by Guillermina Gonzalez, 30, of Quincy, Washington. The CHP said Gonzalez was north of Henry Miller Road when for unknown reasons she allowed the Toyota to travel into the median and lost control. The vehicle crossed over into the northbound lanes and directly into the path of a 2018 Toyota driven by Luis Castillo, 37, of Oakland, the CHP reported.

The northbound Toyota driven by Castillo struck the right side of the vehicle driven by Gonzalez, the CHP stated. The CHP said the 9-year-old who sustained fatal injuries was a right rear passenger in the vehicle driven by Gonzalez and was using safety equipment.

Gonzalez sustained moderate injuries, according to the CHP report, while Castillo and a passenger in the vehicle he was driving, identified as Maria Ruiz, 42, of Oakland, suffered minor injuries.

The accident occurred at 8 p.m.

Newman structure fire

An outbuilding in the 1400 block of S Street in Newman was heavily damaged in a structure fire Friday night, April 2, Newman Fire Chief Keith Bowen reported.

Bowen said crews were dispatched shortly before 11 p.m. and arrived to find the alley outbuilding well involved in flames and threatening additional structures.

Bowen said the first arriving engine set up in the alley and provided a defensive stance to hold the fire north of Merced Street. Additional crews arrived and were able to access the fire from S Street.

Downed power lines complicated the firefighters’ efforts, Bowen said. Crews stood by after extinguishing the fire to await the arrival of PG&E crews to deactivate the lines.

Bowen said occupants of the surrounding area were momentarily displaced and that about 12 homes were left without power, while additional were without communications networks including phone and internet. No injuries were reported.

Newman firefighters were assisted by units from Merced County Fire/Gustine, Mountain View Fire Protection District and the West Stanislaus Fire Protection District. A total of five fire engines responded. The Stanislaus County Fire Investigation Unit, West Side Community Ambulance and Newman Police Department also responded to the incident.

The damage was estimated at $51,000.

Merced County town hall meeting

Merced County supervisors will be hosting a series of virtual town hall meetings in April and May.

Participants will have the opportunity to hear from their supervisor, meet department heads and staff, learn about county projects and ask questions.

District 4 Supervisor Lloyd Pareira, whose district includes the City of Gustine and portions of rural Gustine, will host a town hall Wednesday, April 21 at 6 p.m. Zoom registration is available at

The town hall event can also be viewed on the Merced County Facebook page.

(Editor’s note: Incorrect information regarding the District 4 and District 5 town hall meetings appeared in last week’s edition. District 5 Supervisor Scott Silveira, whose district includes Santa Nella and portions of rural Gustine, hosted a town hall meeting Wednesday, April 7.)

Newman fire report

Personnel from the Newman Fire Department and West Stanislaus Fire Protection District’s Newman station responded to 25 calls for service from March 29 to April 4. Fire Chief Keith Bowen said responses included 16 medical aid calls, two working structure fires, two potential structure fires, one motor vehicle collision, one carbon monoxide alarm, one natural gas leak, one assist to another agency and one “other” type incident.

West Side weather

Newman resident Marge Carvalho, an observer for the National Weather Service, reported the following high/low temperatures for the past week. Information for the previous 24-hour period is recorded at 5 p.m. daily.

Monday, March 29: 75/45

Tuesday, March 30: 80/54

Wednesday, March 31: 88/42

Thursday, April 1: 83/45

Friday, April 2: 84/48

Saturday, April 3: 83/43

Sunday, April 4: 77/43