An unidentified 60-year-old man is dead and a 37-year-old Merced man is in jail after a fatal solo vehicle traffic accident in the 1500 block of West North Bear Creek, the Merced Police Department.
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Luron Rushing, 37, was booked into the Merced County Jail for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, felony drunk driving, driving on a suspended driver’s license, unsafe speed for conditions and felony animal cruelty, according to a department report.
The Merced Police Department and Merced City Fire responded to the accident at 1:34 a.m. When officers and firefighters arrived they located a white 1978, two-door Cadillac Coupe submerged in Bear Creek, police said. Information was received that there was still a passenger in the vehicle. Merced City Fire requested the assistance from the Merced County Sheriff’s Department Dive Team and started rescue efforts.
Rushing was able to exit the vehicle, while submerged, and swim across Bear Creek to the south shore line where he was detained by Merced Police Department. Luron Rushing has been identified by Merced Police as the driver of the vehicle.
Merced City Fire worked for approximately two hours to access the passenger trapped in the vehicle, police said. The vehicle was submerged approximately 10 feet out from the shore line. Since the terrain was steep and dropped off, rescue efforts were difficult.
The vehicle had to be partially removed from Bear Creek by a tow truck in order to remove the passenger. The passenger was transported by Riggs Ambulance to Mercy Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The name of
the passenger is being withheld until the next of kin can be notified.
When officers had the vehicle fully removed from Bear Creek, they located two deceased pit bull dogs in the vehicle. The pit bull dogs were turned over to Merced Police Department Animal Control to dispose of.
The preliminary investigation indicates Rushing was driving the 1978 Cadillac eastbound on N.W. Bear Creek at an unsafe speed. The Cadillac left the right side of the roadway (south side), striking the sand bags along Bear Creek’s edge. The Cadillac continued straight towards Bear Creek where it struck a telephone pole guide wire. The
Cadillac then went air born and landed upside down in Bear Creek.
Officers at the scene detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Rushing’s breath and/or person.
A preliminary breath test was obtained from Rushing, which showed Rushing had a blood alcohol level of .13, police said. A blood sample was obtained from Rushing, to be analyzed, in order to determine Rushing’s blood alcohol level. Rushing was driving on a suspended driver’s license. Rushing’s drivers license was suspended due to having a prior DUI arrest.
Rushing was arrested Sept. 18 by the Merced Police Department for DUI. When Rushing was arrested in September by the Merced Police Department for DUI, his blood alcohol level was .17, police said, over twice the legal limit in