3 charged in Calif in teen farmworker's death

April 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Three top officials for a now-defunct farm labor contractor have been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of a pregnant teenager who collapsed from heat stroke after working in a sweltering vineyard last year. Maria Jimenez died in May of 2007 from heat stroke while she was working a San Joaquin County vineyard.

Authorities said she died because she lacked proper access to shade and water.

Jimenez death triggered protests by farm workers demanding better working conditions.

The San Joaquin County district attorney today charged the owner and two managers of Merced farm labor with involuntary manslaughter.

The state revoked Merced farm labor's license last year.

The United Farm Workers issued a statement saying, "We applaud the district attorney's decision to prosecute this as the crime it was...We hope it will cause other district attorneys to look at the other number of cases where farm workers have been killed the same way."

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