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R.I.P. Sgt. Jeremy Fielder

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A sergeant with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department and a local baker were killed in a head-on collision near Hughson on Friday night.

The victims were driving in opposite directions on Santa Fe Avenue south of Leedom Road when the crash occurred. Sgt. Jeremy Fielder, 43, was driving south in a Honda CR-V and Vanessa Zamora, 33, was traveling north in a Honda Accord on Santa Fe near Lakewood Memorial Park just after 8 p.m., said California Highway Patrol Sgt. Daniel Zills.

As the cars approached each other, Zills said, Zamora’s Accord left her lane and drove into the oncoming lane, where it collided head-on with Fielder’s CR-V. The impact killed both drivers.

An adult female passenger in the CR-V sustained major injuries. She was taken to an area hospital. Her identity and condition were not released.

Zills said there has been no determination on why Zamora’s car left its lane. Weather was not considered a factor. It is unknown how fast either car was driving and if alcohol or drugs were involved. The CHP is handling the investigation.

“The investigation is continuing and this is expected to take a long time,” Zills said.

Stanislaus County sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Raj Singh issued a statement on Fielder’s death, saying, “The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department is saddened by the tragic death of Sgt. Jeremy Fielder. Sgt. Fielder tragically died from injuries after being involved in a traffic collision Friday evening on Santa Fe Avenue near Hughson. Sgt. Fielder was off duty at the time and the investigation is being handled by the California Highway Patrol. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sgt. Fielder’s family, friends, and the men and women of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.”

Fielder was a 20-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department.

The Modesto Police Department posted its condolences to Sgt. Fielder and his family on social media, saying, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department and the family of Sgt. Jeremy Fielder as we mourn this terrible tragedy.”

Zamora was a Modesto baker who owned Vanessa’s Bakeshop, which she ran out of her home. She previously worked at the Village Baking Co. and Cornucopia Natural Foods in Modesto. She participated in the independent crafters and artisans fair Mod Shop last weekend in downtown Modesto.

Zamora’s friend, Modesto resident and Mod Shop co-organizer Ruhi Sheikh, posted about her death on Facebook. She said Zamora, who graduated last year from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in anthropology, was a “likable, bubbly, beautiful, energetic” person. She leaves behind an 8-year-old son.

“Vanessa is that beautiful girl that you see downtown every day at the coffee shop and everyone knew her and loved,” Sheikh said. “There are so many of us that are reeling from this news. She was so young, talented and full of life.”

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