On the night of August 9, two Patterson residents died after their car was plowed into by a suspected drunk driver, according to the California Highway Patrol (CHP).
The fatal DUI crash occurred about 9 p.m. at the intersection of Pomelo Avenue and Sycamore Avenue.
Martin Padilla, 32, also of Patterson, was traveling eastbound on Pomelo in a 1998 Ford Explorer when he blew past a stop sign and broadsided a 2002 Honda Accord. The impact sheared the Honda in half and pushed it into a tree. The destroyed vehicle’s occupants, Zenaida Mendez, 40, and Ulises Torres-Zepeda, 31, both died at the scene.
The Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office confirmed Wednesday the identities of the deceased victims, Zenaida Mendez, 40, and Ulises Torres-Zepeda, 31.
Padilla’s Ford overturned onto its driver’s side after hitting a power pole. Padilla was taken to a nearby hospital with major injuries. He was later transferred to an East Palo Alto hospital, where he was arrested on suspicion of DUI.
“This tragedy could have been prevented if it had not been for Padilla’s reprehensible decision to get behind the wheel while drunk,” said a representative of Wilshire Law Firm. “Our thoughts are with the victims’ loved ones.”