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Seven recovering from Fresno County accident

A truck hits a van carrying farm workers early Monday morning.

Seven people are recovering in area hospitals Monday night after a traffic accident on county roads.  It happened just outside Parlier on Dinuba and Newmark at 5:30am.  The CHP says a truck didn't stop at a stop sign, hitting a van full of migrant workers from Reedley.

Three of the seven injured were taken to the hospital.  Of the five people in the van, four were not wearing seat belts. 

One victim walks from the wreckage with a firefighter, another is taken on a gurney.  Altogether, seven people are rushed to area hospitals with minor to major injuries.  By the looks of the van and truck involved, it's a miracle no one was killed. 

"There was enough seating for all five occupants in the van, however two did get thrown from the vehicle," said Sgt. Leonard Sherman of CHP.

There were seat belts in the van, but no one riding in it buckled up.

"The one who may have been in a seat belt was the driver however the seat belt failed and tore from the shoulder harness," said Sherman.

CHP is still investigating whether it was a farm labor contractor van, which is important because contractors are held to strict transportation requirements.  Manuel Cunha of the Nisei Farmer's League says all workers will likely learn from this incident.

"It'll go through the community fast and I'll guarantee all those workers are thanking the person above and saying, 'from now on, I'll put my seat belt on,'" said Cunha.

This accident is the second in five days on Fresno County roads caused by one driver failing to stop.  Walter McDaniel, the suspect in Wednesday night's accident, was believed to be under the influence.  CHP says alcohol and drugs do not appear to be involved in Monday morning's crash.

From the CHP news release:

Ms. Mendoza was driving a red Ford pickup truck southbound on Newmark Avenue approaching a stop sign at the intersection of Dinuba.
Mr. Silva was driving a White Chevrolet Astro Van Westbound Dinuba Avenue approaching the same intersection­  Mendoza 
failed to stop for a clearly posted stop sign and pulled directly into the path ofthe oncoming Chevrolet. A broadside collision occurred within 
the intersection­  Mendoza and her one male adult passenger were transported by ambulance to a local hospital for their respective 
injuries. Mr. Silva and four rnale adult passengers were transported by ambulance to local hospitals for their respective injuries. Two 
passengers frorn the Chevrolet van were ejected during the collision. One ofvvhich was transported by helicopter to CRMC for his injuries. 
Only the driver in the Chevrolet was wearing a seat belt and it snapped during the collision. None of the passengers were restrained. Alcohol 
and / or drugs were not a factor in this collision.
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