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Early Morning Crash Claims Two Lives
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Highway 108 at Atlas Road was shut down early Thursday morning just east of Oakdale in connection with a double fatality accident.

California Highway Patrol public information officer Tom Olsen said the crash occurred shortly before 7 a.m.

A 2004 Pontiac coupe, eastbound on Highway 108 approaching Atlas, lost control and began rotating in a counterclockwise direction.

“It entered the westbound traffic lane into the path of a 2015 Nissan sedan,” Olsen explained.

The cars impacted violently, the CHP officer said, and both drivers suffered fatal injuries.

The driver of the Pontiac was listed as a 67-year-old man from Modesto while the 85-year-old man had a driver’s license listing an address in Newark, said authorities.

“Both drivers were the only occupants of their vehicle and both succumbed to their injuries at the scene,” Olsen said. “It’s worth noting that the driver of the (Nissan) Sentra was not wearing their seatbelt at the time of the collision … seatbelts, when worn properly, have the ability to save lives and if he had been wearing his, it possibly could have saved his life.”

Officials were continuing their investigation Thursday morning into why the Pontiac spun out of control. The roadway was shut down for a few hours for emergency services, clean up and investigation purposes.

“Caltrans was on scene, directing traffic, they were moving (vehicles) through with minimal delay,” Olsen said.

He added that traffic in the area was light due to many people sheltering in place at home.

The roadway was reopened fully to traffic about 10 a.m.

Look for additional information in the April 1 issue of The Leader.