A 73-year-old man from Ripon died Friday morning in a single-car accident on Highway 99 south of Merced.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the accident occurred at 6:44 a.m. in the southbound lanes of the highway at Worden Road.
Gerald Young, 67, of Modesto was driving a 2000 Dodge south on the freeway when for an unknown reason, he allowed the car to drift to the right. The Dodge struck a guardrail, sending the car out of control and onto the right shoulder of the road.
A passenger in the car, whose name was not released pending notification of his family, suffered fatal injuries. Young was taken to Doctors Medical Center with minor injuries.
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Cause of the accident is under investigation, but the CHP said investigators do not believe drugs or alcohol was a factor.