2 dead, 5 hurt after van crashes on Highway 99

5/4/2013 8:00 PM
By Associated Press

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Two men died and five others were hospitalized with injuries early Saturday after a van carrying farmworkers overturned on a Fresno highway, authorities said.

The California Highway Patrol said the Ford Windstar was going at the speed limit to a farm field near Kingsburg when tread separated from the left rear tire. The driver lost control of the van and it flipped before stopping across Highway 99's right lane and shoulder.

Killed in the 5:30 a.m. crash were Raul Dominguez Solis, 29, and Jose Guadalupe Zermeno, 64, both of Fresno, the county coroner's office said.

Solis was not wearing a seat belt, but Zermeno was, the CHP said.

The five others — four men and one woman — suffered moderate injuries.

In 1999, a crash in Fresno killed 13 tomato pickers who were riding in a farm labor van without seat belts.

At the time, certified farm vehicles were excluded from a law that made it illegal in California to have anyone ride without proper seats and seat belts. Uproar over the loophole led to the passage of a state law that required farm vehicles to be equipped with seat belts for all passengers.


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