Family of Hit and Run Victims Take Legal Action

August 7, 2009 11:52:31 PM PDT
A Chowchilla family who lost four people in a hit-and-run crash is taking legal action. The crash happened on Monday when the car they were in was hit by a tomato truck.The law suit was filed Thursday in Fresno County Superior Court.

Attorney Robert Perez says last week's fatal crash could have been prevented, and he's seeking justice for the relatives of the four victims.

Last Monday morning, five farm workers were heading to work near Five Points when the driver of a tomato truck ran a stop sign, slamming into their car.

Four men, who were all related, died at the scene. Angel Nunez, Nelson Nunez, Jos? Menjivar and Wilfredo Menjivar.

Action News spoke with the wife of one of the victims the day after the crash. She was the only survivor.

Lopez lost not only lost her husband, but her brother, brother in law, and cousin in the crash. She and her family are suing Hernesto Escalante, the driver of the truck, along with Ralph Panella ... the owner of the truck and trailer, and Panella Trucking Company of Stockton.

Robert Perez, a Fresno based attorney, filed the complaint on Thursday.

"Some of these individuals were single and some of them were married with children. Some of them were supporting their parents so consequently we have filed a lawsuit on behalf of everyone under California law has the right to recover money damages."

The victims are asking for compensation for property damage, personal injury and wrongful death.

"Each day that passes, the reality of the fact these four individuals are not coming back is setting in as the family is in mourning and they're preparing to send the bodies back to El Salvador, the impact and their grief increases."

We contacted the trucking company for their response. They had no comment.

The driver of the truck is in the Fresno County Jail facing charges of vehicular manslaughter, and leaving the scene of an accident.

The family needs thousands of dollars to cover funeral costs. So far they have raised only 1500 hundred.

There's a trust account set up if you want to help.

Bank of America
318 Robertson Blvd
Chowchilla, CA 93610
Account Number: 08757-66742

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