The group of teens were on their way back to their probation office when the collision occurred. The crash happened just after 11 a.m. Tuesday morning on Highway 190 and Road 152 near Porterville and Poplar in Tulare County.
Officers with the California Highway Patrol reopened the intersection around 2 p.m. Tuesday. Investigators said the crash happened after a man driving a pickup truck ran a stop sign.
Work helmets and tennis shoes spilled out of the Tulare County Probation van following a crash that killed a 16-year-old boy and girl, as well as the male driver of a pickup truck.
"There were several of the occupants of the van that were ejected. We're going to have to inspect the van more closely to determine whether or not the seat belts were being used at the time of the collision," said Scott Harris with the California Highway Patrol.
/*CHP*/ officials say eight juveniles and one adult were inside the van. The children had just finished doing community service in the Earlimart area and were heading back towards their probation office in /*Porterville*/. As the van traveled east on Highway 190, the pickup truck ran a stop sign at Road 152 -- triggering the crash.
Eddie Martin lives on the corner. His wife heard the collision and immediately called 911. "If people would just stop at the stop sign, and drive the speed limit, you would see less of this."
Martin, and other neighbors stood by and watched as a helicopter and a pair of ambulances transported the 6 surviving teenagers and their driver to local hospitals.
"Poor kids, you know, and then I guess the guy was in a hurry or something. He blew that stop sign, I mean this is a busy road right," said neighbor Rick Lady.
CHP officials say they are waiting on toxicology reports to see if alcohol or drugs played a role, but at this point they believe this was simply a tragic accident.
The survivors were all transported with major injuries. As for the three who died, their identities have not been released. The pickup truck, however, did have an emblem on the side of its door of a tire service company in Pixley.