Three people were killed and five others hospitalized Saturday after a van carrying farm workers overturned on a central California highway, authorities said. The victims were returning from a day of working in the fields when the accident occurred on State Route 152 in Merced County, says California Highway Patrol Sgt. Jesse Lopez. Lopez says a Chevrolet Astro van was heading east on the highway between Los Banos and Chowchilla when it drifted off the road. The driver, Enrique Franco, 21, of Livingston overcorrected and the van rolled, he says.
The Merced Sun-Star reports six people were ejected; only one of the eight people was wearing a seat belt. Three people, all women, died at the scene, and five were taken to the hospital with unspecified injuries. The CHP said one of the survivors suffered serious injuries and the others had moderate injuries; the cause of the crash is under investigation. (Read more farm workers stories.)