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El Portal Man Dies In Single Vehicle Accident

MARIPOSA COUNTY – A single-vehicle accident on Highway 140 near Cedar Lodge has claimed the life of an El Portal man.

Juan Hernandez Montalvo, 25, was killed when his 2003 Volkswagon Jetta crashed onto the banks of the Merced River just after midnight on Sunday, Dec. 30, according to the CHP.Montalvo was traveling westbound on Highway 140 at an unknown rate of speed, about one mile west of Cedar Lodge, when he allowed the Jetta to cross over the eastbound lane and hit the embankment.

The CHP says the driver then turned the vehicle sharply to the right, crossed both lanes of the roadway, and went airborn into an oak tree.

The Jetta then crashed down onto the banks of the Merced River. The driver sustained fatal injures during the collision, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The scene was declared a hazardous materials incident, due to visible fluids from the vehicle in the river, and State Route 140 was closed down to one lane for approximately two hours, beginning at 9:45 a.m.

It is unknown whether drugs or alcohol were contributing factors in the accident, which remains under investigation.

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