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4 Killed, 2 Injured After Van Slams Into Car That Ran Stop Sign

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Four men were killed Monday when the compact car in which they were riding ran a stop sign in Lancaster and was broadsided by a van, Los Angles County sheriff’s deputies said.

Authorities did not release the names of the four victims, said to have been farm workers, because their relatives had not been notified.

A fifth man in the car survived the crash. He was identified as Austreberto Martinez, 26, of Lancaster, who was in serious condition at Antelope Valley Hospital Medical Center with broken ribs, a spokeswoman said.

The driver of the van, 47-year-old Roger Morton of California City, was treated for minor injuries at Lancaster Community Hospital and released, a spokeswoman said. Four passengers in the van were not injured.

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The crash occurred about 10:30 a.m. at 40th Street East and Avenue K, Deputy David Davidson said. The two-door Datsun carrying the farm workers approached the intersection at about 40 m.p.h. It was traveling south as the westbound Ford van approached at about 50 m.p.h. on Avenue K, Davidson said.

“The Datsun slowed at the intersection, then appeared to speed up and bombed right through” without stopping at a stop sign, Davidson said.

The van hit the driver’s door on the Datsun, killing the driver and the three passengers in the back seat instantly, Davidson said. Martinez may have survived because he was in the front passenger seat and was wearing a seat belt, Davidson said. The three men in the back were not wearing seat belts, and the driver wore his seat belt but bore the brunt of the impact.

Neither drugs nor alcohol appear to have been involved, Davidson said. He said the five men were on their way to work in Palmdale.

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