Two people killed in Merced County collision with big rig identified by coroner

Andrew Kuhn/
·1 min read

The Merced County Coroner has identified two men killed in a recent vehicle collision on Highway 59 as Ieli Paulo Ieli, 33, of Merced, and Andres Hernandez Diaz, 22, according to Undersheriff Corey Gibson.

According to the California Highway Patrol, officers responded to the collision involving three vehicles and a big rig, at about 4:15 a.m. June 21.

Authorities said the vehicles were traveling south on Highway 59 near Furtado Road and approaching a 2022 Volvo big rig traveling northbound.

The Volvo big rig reportedly veered into oncoming traffic for unknown reasons and struck the three approaching vehicles.

Authorities said Ieli was driving a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe and Diaz was a passenger in a 2011 Ford Fusion. The CHP said both men were pronounced dead shortly after officers arrived on scene.

A 20-year-old man who was the driver of the Ford was transported to a Modesto hospital with major injuries.

Neither the 28-year-old Kingsburg man who was the driver of the Volvo big rig, nor a 54-year-old Los Banos man who was driving a 2015 Chevrolet Sonic reported any injuries.