5 farmworkers hurt when van overturns near Hughson

Five farmworkers from Merced were injured early Friday when their van overturned after an accident involving two cars on Geer Road near Hughson, the California Highway Patrol reported.

One of the farmworkers, Pedro Jimenez, 34, suffered major injuries and was taken by ambulance to Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock.

There were seven Merced men riding in the 1995 Chevrolet Astro van, and Jimenez was the only one not wearing a seat belt, according to the CHP.

The four other injured farmworkers suffered minor injuries. Cayetano Sanchez, 28, and Demetrio Perez, 37, were taken to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto. Rodrigo Santiago, 22, was taken to Emanuel Medical Center. Felipe Santiago, 33, declined medical treatment.

It was unclear if the Santiagos were related. Martin Antonio, 33, and Guillermo Hernandez, 37, were not injured.

No other injuries were reported, the CHP said.

The crash occurred about 5:20 a.m. on Geer Road, just north of East Service Road. Sanchez was driving the van heading north about 50 mph on Geer. Jeffrey Gardner, 28, of Hilmar was driving a 1999 Toyota Camry south on Geer and had stopped to make a left turn into a driveway.

Alexander Prescott, 24, of Angels Camp, was driving a 1999 Hyundai Sonata south on Geer, traveling at a high rate of speed behind the Toyota, the CHP said. Prescott saw the stopped Toyota in front of him and applied the brakes.

The Hyundai became locked in a skid and its front end struck the Toyota, according to the CHP. The Toyota spun and hit the van.

The CHP said the van veered off the east side of the road and overturned several times.

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