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California's Highway 99 is deadliest route in the state, study finds

New study ranks Highway 99 as deadliest California route
New study ranks Highway 99 as deadliest California route 02:09

STOCKTON — A new study found that Highway 99 is the deadliest route in California.

Barber Law Firm in Dallas found that over a span of five years, nearly 90 people died annually in nearly 400 total crashes.

Some who drive on it almost every day say they see crashes and tragedies almost all the time, and for some, it hits all too close to home.

"It's like one or two times a month but sometimes, it gets crazy like two times a week," said Cuauhtémoc Rivera, the owner of Don Luis Mexican Restaurant, which sits near the Hammer Lane exit from northbound Highway 99.

The location of Rivera's restaurant is good for business, but not all of the crashes that happen on the highway keep customers away.

"When something like that happens, everything is slowed down," Rivera said. "Most people, they go into the city and then I'm losing business."

The study looked at fatal crashes from 2018 to 2022. The 89 deaths per year during those five years put Highway 99 well above the Pacific Coast Highway and State Route 91 as the route with the most fatalities.

"It does [surprise me]. I didn't know it was going to be that bad," Rivera said. "A lot of people, they speed and they start getting into accidents."

Rivera isn't the only one that feels this way.

"It's a lot. What's causing it all? I don't know but there is a lot of construction going on," Michael Venotti said.

Venotti has lived in San Joaquin County for 73 years and said there needs to be more patrol.

"Everything is a mess. There's not enough highway patrol to keep the speeders down," he said. "There's a lot more traffic now than there was 10 years ago."

We reached out to the California Highway Patrol for comment on this study, but they did not get back to us by the time this story was published.

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