California Highway Patrol is investigating a three-vehicle fatal collision in Merced County that claimed the life of a seven-year-old Oakdale boy and sent two more children to the hospital with moderate injuries, Sunday night, Aug. 23.
The Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office identified the child as Drayden Drake, who was a passenger in a 2011 Cadillac SUV driven by 28-year-old Tasjuan Drake of Oakdale.
According to the California Highway Patrol in Merced, Drake was driving north on Oakdale Road coming up on Turlock Road in an unincorporated area of Merced County shortly before 9:30 p.m. Sunday when a 2015 Toyota Tacoma driven by Daniel Donham, 35, of Ripon was in the southbound lane of Oakdale Road, waiting for the Cadillac before turning eastbound on Turlock Road.
A third vehicle, a 2014 Ford Fusion, driven by Catherine Brehm, 58, of Coulterville was eastbound on Turlock Road. Brehm stopped at the intersection but then pulled into the path of the Cadillac, with the vehicles colliding in the intersection. The Ford then continued traveling in a northwesterly direction and struck the Toyota Tacoma. Brehm was transported to Memorial Hospital with injuries; authorities said Donham did not report any injuries.
Medical responders performed life-saving measures on the child at the scene but officials said he later died of his injuries at Emmanuel Medical Center in Turlock.
The Cadillac driver Tasjuan Drake and his right front passenger, Heather Hill, 25, also of Oakdale, suffered major injuries and were taken to Doctor’s Medical Center in Modesto. According to the CHP report, none of the three were using proper safety equipment.
Also in the Cadillac, a four-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy – who were restrained – were taken to Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera for moderate injuries.
Alcohol and drugs do not seem to be a factor in the crash; the cause remains under investigation.