3 Field Hands Killed, 9 Hurt in Collision of Van and Truck

Associated Press

A loaded cattle truck struck the side of a farm labor van in western Fresno County about dawn Tuesday, killing three field hands and injuring nine others, authorities said.

The van pulled out of a private driveway onto California 145 at 5:45 a.m. Tuesday, as the truck approached from the nearby Harris Ranch feedlot between Coalinga and Five Points, the California Highway Patrol said.

The truck hit the van part way through its turn, ripping the right rear of the van open, a witness said. The collision ejected the three men who were killed, tossing them 40 to 50 feet.

Passengers in the van were believed to be illegal aliens. The dead men were carrying foreign currency but no identification, a coroner’s spokesman said.


Four farm workers suffered critical injuries, including two with skull fractures. Two others were listed in serious condition at Valley Medical Center in Fresno, a hospital spokesman said. Other injuries were minor.

The truck driver, Elzie Ezermack, 56, of Firebaugh, was not hurt.