Five people were killed in a violent collision Tuesday morning in foggy San Joaquin County.
The California Highway Patrol reported that a van with six farmworkers was traveling along northbound Van Allen Road at Highway 4 about 6:50 a.m. About the same time, a pickup truck was traveling eastbound on Highway 4, approaching Van Allen Road.
When the driver of the van began to move the vehicle and travel northbound across Highway 4, it was hit broadside by the pickup. The driver of the van, who was wearing a seat belt, absorbed the full impact of the collision.
He and three others in the van were pronounced dead at the scene. A fifth person in the van later died at a hospital. The sixth was reported to have moderate injuries.
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Other than the driver, it is not believed that the van's passengers were wearing seat belts, according to the CHP. It has not been determined if the van's driver stopped at the stop sign on Van Allen Road before proceeding to cross onto Highway 4.
Two people in the pickup were also transported to the hospital.
Once CHP officers began their investigation, visibility was down to 200 feet. CHP officer James Smith confirmed that poor visibility at dawn was a factor in the crash.
"Fog is a contributing factor," said Smith. "If there had more visibility, the drivers may have seen each other sooner. They could have slowed down, which would have produced less injury -- or they might have completely avoided the collision. We want to make sure that motorists drive at speeds that are safe given the conditions."