Porterville reacts to death of four farm workers

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- The community of Porterville is reacting to news that four farm workers from their town have died. That accident happened Friday night at American and Navalencia avenues in Fresno County when a van hit a semi. Nine people were in the van and four were killed.

Brad Olbera owner of Cali Cuts in Porterville says news that four farm workers died in a car accident Friday night is still setting in.

Porterville has a large farm working community. Friday night four members of that community - 56-year-old Aguileo Vazquez Vargas and his son 29-year-old Fortino Vasquez Tepeco, 21-year-old Pedro Rodriguez Vasquez and 55-year-old Jorge Aguilera all died while coming home from a day at work. The California Highway Patrol says the van they were in tried to pass a semi- truck turning onto Navelencia Avenue off of American near Orange Cove. The van hit the semi-truck causing it to roll, Olbera says he knows the driver of the semi.

The driver of the van, 39-year-old Augustin Mendoza, was arrested and charged with four counts of vehicular manslaughter for trying to pass the truck in an intersection. He was also charged for having nine people in a van that only seats eight.

Mendoza already bailed out of jail. The other four passengers were wearing seatbelts and they're all ok.

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