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4 die in solo accident on 120 Bypass
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Upwards of 20 people — including two nearby neighbors — that rushed to pull victims of a fiery crash from a minivan on the 120 Bypass, may have helped save the lives of at least three children.

The Saturday accident at 10:07 p.m. killed four of the seven people in a 2011 Toyota Sienna that was westbound approaching the Van Ryn Avenue overcrossing when the driver lost control of the vehicle.

The California Highway Patrol, said the minivan veered off the freeway and into the grass and dirt median.

The van — that had been travelling 60 to 65 mph – became airborne and struck the overpass and caught fire as it turned over,

As many as 20 people who had been driving on the Bypass left their cars to help the crash victims.

They first pushed to help upright the minivan.

Bystanders pulled four children from the vehicle — three between the ages of six and 14 as well as an infant.

The infant was one of the four that died at the scene.

The most seriously injured was a 6 year-old girl transported to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

A CHP spokesman noted the agency usually advises the public to wait for emergency responders to arrive on scene, but in this case their actions likely saved lives due to the fire.

An environmental study for upgrades to the 120 Bypass/Highway 99 interchange that breaks ground this summer, noted the section of Highway 120 form Highway 99 to Airport Way has an accident rate almost 6 times the state average for freeways.

In 2023, Manteca Fire Department handled 286 calls in the 120 Bypass between Highway 99 and Interstate 5.

That’s an average of an accident once every 30.6 hours for accidents that warrant a call to 9-1-1.

There were two fatalities in 2023.

Saturday’s accident was the deadliest in at least 20 years on the 120 Bypass.

A similar accident where a westbound vehicle went off into then median approaching the Van Ryn overcrossing occurred last year.

Over the last 15 years, the section of freeway in the westbound lanes that isn’t usually associated with fatalities — had one car that went off the road and down an embankment before ending up against a soundwall and another where a semi-truck trailer flipped onto Van Ryn Avenue during a crash.

The upgrades planned in three phases are designed to address congestion and improve the flow of traffic.

The initial phase that will take two to three years to complete, includes adding a second transition lane from the eastbound 120 Bypass to southbound Highway 99.

In order to have a smoother transition and to reduce the potential for backups on the Bypass that can typically reach as far west as Union Road during peak travel times, the current Austin Road overpass is being removed.

That will allow an additional transition lane — both it and the existing lane will extend beyond Austin Road — to be built

The replacement overpass will also clear the railroad tracks. In doing so modifications will be made to several Manteca surface streets including Moffat Boulevard and Woodward Avenue.

Although it is not a city project, Manteca officials have been working diligently to get funding lined up for the next two phases.

Mayor Gary Singh is hopeful funding will be in place for the second phase to allow it to start when the first phase is completed.

The second phase builds a second transition lane from northbound Highway 99 to the westbound 120 Bypass.

The final phase that has no funding committed to it, would restore the southbound off ramp and northbound onramp on Austin Road with an elaborate extended braided ramp system as well as widen the 120 Bypass to six lanes between Highway 99 and  Airport Way.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email