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Woman, 9-year-old girl killed in crash between car and box truck on I-5

The driver of the box truck took his eyes off the road to grab something and when he looked up he collided with the sedan, killing a woman and child.

MODESTO, Calif. — A woman and child are dead and two other people are injured after a box truck collided with a sedan Wednesday afternoon.

According to a report from California Highway Patrol (CHP), the deadly crash happened just after 1 p.m. on southbound I-5, just south of I-580. 

CHP says Daniel Vega was driving a 2003 Toyota Sedan in the far left lane on the interstate while Catarino Torres Jr. was driving a 2019 Hito box truck nearby. 

Investigators believe Vega was moving his car to the center median, possibly to deal with a flat tire. Torres allegedly reached for something, in the truck, taking his eyes off the road. When he looked back up, the front of the truck struck the right rear of the Toyota. Both vehicles left the east road edge before coming to stop in the center median. 

Vega was traveling with a 30-year-old woman, and two children, 4 and 9 years old, when the crash occurred. The woman and 9-year-old child, who CHP believes to be mother and daughter, died at the scene. Vega and the 4-year-old child were both taken to a nearby hospital with minor injuries. Torres was traveling alone and was not injured.

CHP says they do not believe drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash. 

Investigators say, due to the severity of the damage, they are looking into if the woman and child were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash. 

"CHP would like to remind all motorists, diverting your attention for just a few seconds could have severer consequences," said CHP in a press release. "At freeway speeds, a vehicle can travel in excess of a football field in a matter of a few seconds." 

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