MERCED COUNTY (KFSN) --Action News has learned more about four family members killed in a crash near Winton. Relatives have identified the victims as the Hernandez family.
Relatives said Mario Hernandez was a hard working man who loved spending time with his wife and two children at family gatherings. That's what they were doing shortly before their truck flipped into a canal.
Relatives found a board full of family photos at the home near Snelling where Mario and Blanca Hernandez raised their children-- 9-year-old Nayeli and 6-year-old Jonathan. "Jonny, he was spunky. He loved to run. And Nayeli-- she liked girly things, she would always talk about really girly stuff with me, and they just loved life, they loved to hang out with us," said Zoe Machuca, victims' family member.
Machuca said she went to school with her cousin, Nayeli, at Washington Elementary, while Jonathan attended Hopeton. Staff members said counselors were available at both campuses Tuesday to help the students and staff cope with the tragic loss. "It's been pretty hard. I'm not going to lie, we've got some emotional things to attached to them, but we're trying to get through it, and they were wonderful," said Machuca.
The Hernandez family had spent Valentine's Day with relatives, but later that night Mario somehow lost control on Youd Road and flipped the family's truck into a canal. His uncle said he was Mario's foreman at East Side Mangement for more than a decade and was very close with the entire family. "Yes, I'm close. I seen them when little babies in my hands, and he is like my son," said Antonio Machuca, victims' family member.
He started to worry something was wrong when Mario didn't show up for work Monday morning, and after several unanswered calls, his worst fears came true. Someone finally spotted the family's pickup in the water nearly 12 hours after the crash. "Bad because it's 4 at one time," said Antonio.
Relatives are planning to hold funeral services for the Hernandez family in Mexico.
They've set up a memorial account to help with expenses through Bank of the West, the info is below.
Bank of the West
ACCT #: 041551136