1 dead, several injured in crash between minivan and farmworker bus in Merced County

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A morning commute turned deadly after a bus crash left a passenger dead. (KFSN)

A morning commute turned deadly after a bus crash left a passenger dead.

"When I woke up I just heard a lot of screaming and we all got out," said Rodolfo Lopez, a passenger on the bus.

California Highway Patrol officers said there were 21 passengers on the bus-- many of them, like Lopez and his father, watched on as several emergency crews responded to the scene.

Authorities said the accident happened around 6:20 Friday morning on Highway 59 near Nevada Road. They said the bus started to slow down to make a left turn.

"As the van turned into the private driveway, the vehicle in the rear, it overturned it," said Obed Macias, CHP officer.

CHP officers said one of the passengers was partially ejected and smashed under the bus-- he died on scene. They said the driver of the van was airlifted to a hospital in Modesto while his passenger was taken by ambulance.

Officers also said there were eight other minor injuries.

"These guys are trying to make a living, it's always tragic to see the loss of a family member, or citizen, especially when we arrive on scene and see the graphic details on it," said Macias.

Riders of the bus said they were coming from Madera to work at a nearby field.

A company called Castle Farms is located near where the accident happened. We tried calling the company to determine if that was where the workers were going, but they declined to answer, and did not confirm if that was their destination.

Authorities said both vehicles have been taken in as evidence and will be investigated.

As passengers watched crews clear the scene, many said they felt lucky to have made it out alive.

"I'm shocked but besides that, I'm fine. I'm thankful my dad is fine too," said Lopez.

The Merced County Coroner's Office said they have identified the victim, but need to work with the Mexican Consulate to notify his family. However, the consulate is closed for Good Friday so they will attempt to contact the consulate again next week.
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traffic fatalitiesmerced countyMerced County
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